The Mailbox

mailboxMolly Perkins was a young woman of simple means and simpler character. She worked hard, but not that hard, at the Tim Horton’s near the university she’d once attended but from which she’d failed to graduate, and lived with three roommates in a two-bedroom apartment a mere ten minute walk from work.

It was a grey and drizzly Monday morning, only fifteen minutes into her shift, when a customer had told her “I hope you’re happy.” She was pretty sure he was being sarcastic because he’d angrily tossed a few pennies into the tip jar as he’d said it, and pennies weren’t even legal tender anymore. He’d been displeased because the cheese on his breakfast sandwich covered only half of his bagel. He’d unwrapped it at the cash, inspected it carefully, deemed it unworthy of his high standards, and rejected it, which was fairly unusual. Most people didn’t look at their breakfast sandwiches from Tim Horton’s. They probably brought them to work and then ate them at their desks at their fancy office jobs. This man had insisted on having another one made for him, which was pretty annoying during the morning rush. They made another one, and it still wasn’t what he wanted, but he said something about being late for an important meeting and took the sandwich anyway. Molly wondered if he always carried around obsolete pennies just for the purpose of flipping off fast-food workers. Regardless, his snarky remark had made her think.

“I hope you’re happy.” Was she happy? No, she most definitely was not. In fact, she’d only ever really been happy once in her life, and that was when she’d been about fourteen years old, and had spent a few weeks at her grandmother’s cottage in Victoria. It had been the best summer of her life, but not because there was anything so great about Victoria and not because she was especially close to her grandmother. Come to think of it, it was more her lack of a relationship with her gran that had made the vacation so good. She’d been completely left to her own devices for the first and only time in her life.

Molly was twenty-nine now, just a few months away from thirty, and she was quite convinced that her life was unbearable. Someone in their thirties should live in a house, with a husband, and a kid, or at least a dog. Not in a shitty apartment, sharing a tiny room with a large roommate. Every day was the same. She had to wake up extra early every morning to get enough time in the washroom, and then she had to spend all day being yelled at by her manager, and cleaning up after sloppy college kids. Then she’d get home and she’d have to clean up after her roommates, ’cause god knew they weren’t going to do it and she needed at least a bit of tidiness in her life. She’d eat leftover bagels and doughnuts for dinner and watch Big Brother Canada, and then everything would happen all over again the next day.

She needed to get back to Victoria. Not to be with her gran, just to be there. Just to start over. It was warmer there for one thing, and nicer. She remembered water, and lots of flowers. She’d been a kid when last she’d visited, so she’d spent most of her time at the beach. She wouldn’t be able to do that so much now, as an adult she’d need to get a job, but they probably had tons of Tim Hortons in Victoria.

When she got home that night she propped her laptop up on her knees and ate a stale muffin while researching airfare to B.C. Before she’d even finished her muffin she closed her laptop and tried to think of an alternate plan. Airfare to Victoria was insurmountably expensive. But she’d mailed her gran a package before, which had been pretty cheap. She rifled through the junk drawer, where she was pretty sure one of her roommates, the one who always left cracker boxes open so all the crackers go stale, kept stamps. She found a whole roll! It was probably best to use as many as possible, just in case.

The next morning, Molly looked up her grandmother’s address on her phone and then wrote it down on a large piece of paper, which she scotch taped to her chest. The tape wasn’t really sticking so she went to the store and got packing tape. Then she covered herself in stamps and marched over to the mailbox right outside the pharmacy. She opened the slot, hefted herself up, and crawled inside, but just her luck, her feet got stuck. Molly wiggled and strained and finally she simply kicked off her booties, which fell outside the mailbox, and dropped down to the bed of letters below. It was fine, she’d just get new shoes in Victoria.

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