Valpak makes me shrug. It’s a flick of the wrist into the recycle bin of my apartment lobby. RCN, Verizon, and Bank One promotions are unnerving, mostly because they contain some personal information which requires me to tote them upstairs to discard down a trash shoot. Bills are really nothing more than paper to me; I rarely even open the envelopes. They’re nods at being a hard copy for my records, you know, if I were the type to actually keep records. I don’t even have a checkbook. I’m all about e-banking, e-everything. Except mail. Mail is nice. Let me tell you what’s not nice.
I’m on a date. It goes well, the kind of well where he ends up in my lobby, near my mailbox, waiting because I’ve said, “Oh, before we go up, let me just get my mail.” He offers to hold something. This is nice, being drunk with a male while I fetch the mail. Then a sobering moment will suggest itself, right there beside my college newsletter. Pottery Barn Kids. Posh Tots. HearthSong.
This wasn’t a first date. Second. Or third. We were past casual. He’d read the Monarch Notes to my life.
“Um, Stephanie, why do you get children’s catalogs?” He asked causually, because that’s what you do when you’re past casual. And, as fast as that, I’m sober wondering why I haven’t unsubscribed to both of them. The catalogs and the man.
“Oh, I dunno. Let’s think. Maybe ’cause I had an abortion. Wanna ask me anything else?” I know he isn’t being mean; he is being a guy. He had forgotten. He smiles, a shoelace dangling from his mouth. He doesn’t mention how his foot tastes. Instead, he turns quiet and sober. I know he feels bad. Well so do I. Grab a chair. It seems Pottery Barn Kids makes a lovely mini lullaby chair.
I take his hand and lead him upstairs. He reads me a bedtime story with the light of a nightlight. Not all is lost.