I texted Pammy, Christopher’s girlfriend, to ask if she’d come to the mall with me.
I’ve read it is better to take a seasoned guide when you’re going to places that are unfamiliar and possibly dangerous.
My request immediately put her on high alert: “What do you need that is actually making you go to the store to get it?” came her reply.
She’s right. There is nothing I can’t order online and then wait patiently for it to arrive. I wear stretchy things or leather things, I know my sizes, and my colour palette spans all the way from black to black. I will not lie; my UPS man is one of my closest friends. We discuss whatever I’m driving that week, and he usually comes up the driveway laughing as he says, “Let me guess, a pair of boots you just couldn’t live without.”
And here I thought I maintained an air of mystery.
Which made it all rather odd when Christopher began working for UPS over the holiday season. Things got weirder still when he found out his route was the area around our house. I sneak boots into the house like teenagers sneak in dope or girlfriends. And now here was my son about to discover the sordid truth about his mother.
Soon after he started, I asked if he liked it.
“I like it. People are happy to see you,” he told me.
“Well, of course they are. You’re bringing them boots,” I replied.
I was pleased when he got the job. His last one had been as a bouncer in a strip club.
It’s hard to meet up with the other moms you’ve known since preschool and lead with that.
Before every shift I’d stand on the stairs and kiss him on the forehead and tell him to hide behind the big guys. And every time he would sigh and remind me he was the big guy.
At UPS, the biggest challenge had been finding him a uniform that fit.
I’d overlooked one salient fact when he started. He was working in tandem with a driver — my driver, of course. As they headed down a side street one day, the driver said he had a delivery for one street over. Christopher said, “Let me guess, 1234 Sommerfeld St.” (that is not my actual address, though when I die the city should totally consider it) and laughed as his driver thought he was clairvoyant.
Between all members of this household, we are “known to UPS” like some people are known to police.
My sister Roz is not much better. I’m sure her postman knows she’s a Sagittarius who loves to cook and likes one of her cats more than the other. They chat most days and he could probably fake her signature if he weren’t a bonded professional.
She and her neighbour got into a bit of a tug at Christmas over what they’d given him.
“I gave him homemade truffles,” said Sandy.
“I gave him a gift card,” replied Roz. Smugly.
Dude cleans up on that street.
With the holidays over, things inevitably got quieter on the delivery front. I stopped asking Christopher to hide deliveries in the garage if I wasn’t home, and even Ari started getting fewer deliveries from Computer Heaven or whatever they call it.
My text to Pammy was about going for jeans, because everyone knows searching for the perfect pair of jeans is basically a unicorn hunt unless you’re built like a swizzle stick.
Roz called me laughing yesterday.
Her postman asked her if she’d been seeing someone else.