At last, at last! The intercom expelled me from my chair, sweat beading on my lip and my forehead. I strode for the door stepping over the book I had just sent shooting from my lap across the oriental rug and made my way in a measured haste towards the entry phone. My heart, I could tell from all the fuss it was making, was just as excited as I.
‘Hello? You have a delivery for me?’ He confirmed that he did. ‘Superb!’ I said and held down the button to open the gate – the button granting entry to the man carrying with him the most precious purchase I had made yet. The delivery man who held what could best be described as the pinnacle of my many eBay purchases.
Today was the day for which I had waited for six entire weeks. Six weeks I had waited, for my life that, whilst it was satisfying – adorned with social engagements, salubrious company and all manner of things which one might describe beautiful, clocks, antique books, a taxidermy dodo, a rare collection of Jade from a long ago Chinese dynasty, a bureau reported to have been used by a young Aldous Huxley, the very bandage used to dress the weeping ulcer that would ultimately end the life of Henry VIII, – was a life that was yet to become meaningful in such a way as would lead me to describe it as complete.
I clutched a handkerchief to my chest as I waited, breath held, at the top of the stairs. I listened to the sound of heavy boots ascending. A head appeared, and then shoulders. I almost tumbled into a psychedelic frenzy as the box, the cardboard box that held it, the thing, the item, my one true love, came into my sights. I took a step towards him. He tucked the box under his arm and reached towards his pocket for his handheld parcel tracking machine. I couldn’t tell if he’d seen me waiting or if he was expecting still to knock at the door. I took another step towards where he stood at the top of the stairs, box under arm, hand in pocket, holding, beholding the object of which my dreams (and though I did not know it yet my nightmares) were made. I took another step, stretched my arm out towards him. I left one hand clutching the handkerchief towards my mouth for fear that I may whimper. I could almost feel the cardboard of the box against the pads of moist fingertips until contact was finally made. I became ecstatic with otherworldly pleasure as I allowed my hand to caress for a moment, so fleeting and yet in my memory so everlasting, the delivery box.
The man, quite startled, lifted his head towards my hand and then to me with widened eyes.
‘Can I help you?’ He said and as he did so turned his torso towards the staircase which he had climbed just moments before. He turned his torso and shifted his shoulder towards me. His shoulder came towards me and the object, in its box, he did withdraw. Our eyes locked. Mine, I thought perhaps, were quivering .
‘I believe you have my…’ I reached out again. The words tumbling away from me as my hand was drawn by the package’s cosmic magnetism to reach out again for another touch. And, as I touched it I can’t remember exactly how, he seemed to lift his elbow towards the bannister. He lifted his (oh goodness I cannot bare to describe it, such was the horror. The horror!). He lifted his elbow and in doing so released the item, in its box, from his grip and in the smallest fragment of moments I watched as it was released into the void, the gap that was a channel from the sixth floor landing were we stood all the way to the ground of the lobby below.
I ran to the bannister, knocking the handheld device from his grip as I did so, just in time to hear the impact. As the box made contact with the floor at gravity’s whim I was just in time – in the nick of time – to hear the contents of the box smash to a million fragments, into the dust of a dream not realised. We looked at one another, the delivery man and I. He shared with me my moment of despair. He was powerless to act, powerless to remedy. As the tears welled in my eyes he retrieved his handheld device from the floor and put it back into his pocket.He looked at me and before the hatred flooded me, the putrid venom with which I now remember him, I felt an intimate pull towards this creature with whom my fate was now so tightly intertwined. Without a word he turned and descended and I watched him. Tears collected in my eye’s corners and then spilled over my pallid cheeks as he stepped over the remains of what could have blissfully been, and let himself out the front door.