Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: MAIL (02/18/16)
- TITLE: Going Postal
By Judith Gayle Smith
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Reader's Digest Condensed Novels - neatly stacked on the garage floor up to the open rafters in his grandmother's garage.
I married a mailman. A tall intellectual California sun god with Paul Newman blue eyes and a toothy grin brighter than Charlton Heston's 100 watt smile.
Bulging "feel my bicep" muscles notwithstanding, delivering books was not pleasurably agreeable for this frowning college professor turned humble mailman to aggravate his overbearing mother.
He was a brag-worthy Professor of Comparative Literature when we first met - barely older and much less street smart than the rambunctious college kids he reluctantly taught. Expectations ran high in his circle - try for the Pulitzer prize. Two weeks before he would receive his PhD, he quit college. To upset his aggrieved mother.
I espied him while out and about - couldn't miss his California-tanned long hairy legs striding the brilliant green lawns of a familiar neighborhood - dressed in full mailman regalia including shorts for the broiling sun.
I was shocked - it had been two extremely long years since we last talked. His dark blond hair was now vivid blond, and he looked much heartier and healthy - more radiantly alive. He saw me and flashed that incredibly surprised smile that transformed his mostly solemn demeanor.
I still loved him, craved him, and I literally stood on my car's brakes - screeching his name. He was literally a new man - fit, happy. We renewed our struggling dream walk with each other, and two blissful months later we married. His mother was living in Costa Rica. I wonder if he married me to further annoy her.
He referred to himself as "the happy mailman". I was unbelievably in love with the idea of being in love with the man I had agonzied over for four years - yet having dated only six months throughout that span.
I didn't know about the seemingly tons of Reader's Digest Condensed Books languishing in the garage. I was - and still am a lover of these "get a taste of the novel and want more" books. How to rectify the situation without having my love incarcerated for withholding mail? He just didn't care to tote them. He had the muscle for it, but not the "want to."
Eventually the Post Office was notified, and I was no longer the wife of a mailman. I was still married to a petulant fellow who continued to seek ways to disappoint his mother.
I was going to be a real "Fifties" style wife, greeting my husband with a kiss and savory dinner on the stove. Frilly aprons and ruffled curtains - checkered tablecloths and all. I had quit my terrific backstage job at Disneyland when we married.
I had resigned my position at Disneyland badly, letting my shocked supervisor know I was unhappy with her alcoholic starts to the day. Unforgivable, as she was so happy for me that I was marrying the man I had mooned over for so long.
I had to find work again. It was unusual for a mailman to be fired, and he did not receive the best references for job seeking. I found work quickly, while my unhappy new husband stayed home, too depressed to do anything but stay home, drink Diet Rite Cola and chain-smoke.
My dream of being a beloved mailman's wife disintegrated into pathos. Never mind my earlier ennobling dream of being a college professor's wife. It took years to realize that depression and over-medication had overstressed my mailman. How to help him?
I wasn't a helpmeet to him. We had a pathological-symbiotic relationship: he needed, and I needed to be needed. I professed to be a Christian, but forgot God in my angst. I couldn't comfort my favorite handsome unhappy mailman, and certainly was unable to find comfort myself.
My advice? Love your mailmen, and understand the stress they endure. Don't take for granted that because they appear hale and hearty - that they are. Fresh baked cookies and loving smiles are part of their dues as carriers of your expectations . . .
sad, but true story
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