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March 5, 2013
Mail carriers have always fascinated me. So many pieces of mail, stories of people's lives intersecting through their hands. Bills, checks, court orders, inheritances. Mail carriers deliver more than letters. They do life one box at a time.
Over the years, I've tried to have a relationship with our carriers. In Colorado I would meet Norma at the bottom of our driveway and chat about her life and her disabled daughter and what it was like living in Hawaii. When we moved to Arizona, it took a while to actually meet our carrier.
From where I write, I can hear the white truck coming around the corner. The mufflers on those things rumble and if Andrea has something to hand off, I can usually catch her. This carrier wears a floppy hat to block the sun. Blond hair. Small build. Quiet. An accent. A few times she's come to the door and the kids have met her.
She reportedly said, "It always smells so good in your house," to one of my children. That day Andrea was cooking some kind of meat in a stew.
Since I'm a writer, I wonder about her background. I wonder about her name. Her accent caused me to dub her "Svetlana." She sounded Eastern European to me, but I wasn't sure. What has she been through? What mountains has she climbed? What dreams does she have?
The other day she stopped in front of the mailbox and was getting out. I met her halfway to the door and signed for the package she delivered and I asked about the demise of Saturday delivery, what this would do to people's Netflix accounts, and the weather.
"You're getting a new courier in May," she said.
"Really?" I said. "Where are you going?"
"Back to Slovakia. It's where I'm from."
Well, this opened the floodgates. She told me she was originally from an area near Hungary, which led me to tell her about my grandfather who was raised in the old Austro-Hungarian Empire and emigrated to the US before World War I. I gave her the short version and she smiled. We could be relatives for all I know. "Why are you leaving? To go back to your family?"
"No, to make a new life," she said. "Things are getting crazy here."
I didn't know if she meant politically or culturally or personally. And it didn't feel right to pry. But I couldn't leave without asking the money question.
"What's your name?"
She took the signed slip and got back in her white truck and drove away. It was nice to finally meet Marcella and know a little of her story.
What Marcella didn't know was, at that moment, I was struggling through a section of a story I'm working on about the interconnectivity of us all. How our stories flow and float in lines and cross and meander and connect or stay disconnected. I hate to think that if I hadn't asked, I would never know her name or where she went when a new courier showed up.
Your life is like this, too. Connecting, flowing, crossing boundary lines with so many people. I'm grateful our lives have crossed in some small way.
Thanks for subscribing to the FABRYGRAM, a periodic communiqué from my writing closet about life: observations, questions, news, and more.
If you prayed for the Treha project, thank you. I finished the story in the fall but there was quite a bit of work to do to help her come shining through. I can't tell you how excited I am for you to meet her.
The tentative title for Treha's story is Waking the Heart and it's scheduled for release in September/October 2013. Treha is an amazing young woman with an amazing supporting cast. And if all goes as planned, I'll be spending a lot more time with this girl in the months ahead.
Signed by Chris
I'd love to autograph one of my books to you or your family member or friend. All six of my adult fiction titles are available for signing, and I'll be happy to personalize them however you'd like. Visit our Online Shop to find out more.
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