I’m keeping watch again today for the postman as I do every day. Oh, it’s not that I’m looking out for him in particular. It’s just that I find this chair, this window, comforting at this time of the day. There’s no reason why I should expect a letter anyhow, but for the hope I’ve kept secretly tucked inside my heart for well past a decade. The hope and need for a small measure of confirmation, of validity of my being.
I find I’m colder these days, although the weather shows promise of warming up. As I reach for my shawl, I notice the wrens beginning to build their nest in my Maple tree. Their industriuous efforts mark the start of Spring, though I’m not as enthusiastic as they are about it this time around. At times, the cycles of nature and our lives seem to be quite pointless, filled with repetition and monotony.
In keeping with her routine, my neighbor, Martha, shuffles her grandchildren to the curb to wait for the bus. They all turn and wave to me, knowing they will find me there. As I smile and greet them, I wonder about their ages and what grades they are in. Not having actually met them, they remain as much a mystery to me as does much of the goings on up and down my street.
Today is my birthday. It’s always been my favorite day of the year and has remained so even when the other holidays have become tarnished memories. As I watch the youngsters chase each other around Martha’s yard, I’m reminded of the cycles of my life and the many spurts of joy that have been blighted by the lasting times of sadness. My head feels heavy with the thoughts.
I look up from my memories and follow the bus from the corner, making its way toward Martha’s driveway. How did all these years come to mean nothing more than a lonely memory? Where did all the happiness hide itself?
The silence in the room lends itself to revisiting the past, with the clock’s ticking being the only sound. As time continues to pass, I’m not able to push my hope aside as I’ve always done to sidestep the pain that results from my memories. I tuck my feet under me to keep them warm and hug my shawl closer in an attempt to ward off the thoughts that threaten to trample my hope. But I’m cold – colder than I have been – and my memories fall gently from my eyes.
A movement shakes me free from my past and I see the postman has arrived. He turns to find me at the window, tips his head slightly, and offers a quick wave.
As he continues on, he keeps my hope tucked safely in his mail sack.