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Blue Valentine

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February 26th 2013  |  0  |  Category: Romantic Love , Tragedy  |  Author: Albert  |  1263 views

A single long line stretched in the middle of the hallway back out into the atrium, men and women holding bundles of boxes and parcels. Only three of the fifteen windows were open as the cerulean staffs behind the counters, stamped, ticketed and ushered the delivery through express and priority mail. Fresh flow of human traffic spilled out into the gloomy foyer, snaking against the back walls like bamboo curtains as I maneuvered past them and stood in front of my locker number: 74493

I fished the key out of my front pocket and slotted it in the hole, turning it to the right, and bent down to take a better look. Inside the narrow compartment, I saw the crisp, white envelopes stacked to one side but no small packages or yellow slips signaling a present as I leafed through the mail. I called my mother, right away, and she picked up on the first ring.

“Mom,” I said. “Did you see any packages inside the PO Box?”

“Why? Where are you?” she said.

“I’m at the post office, trying to find a gift a friend of mine sent from New York.”

Unnerving silence from the other line, and I shifted my position, checking the transmission bars. Healthy and nothing wrong with the reception, yet I still shouted into my cell-phone: “Ma? MA? You there?”

“Yes, son. I’ve got it.”

I swooned a little, but held my footing, heart jack-hammering against my ribcage in nauseating, pixilated thuds.

“Did you open it?”

“Yes, I have.”

The interior of the post office turned slightly gray and my breath caught halfway in my windpipe.

“What was in there, Ma?” I said slowly, swallowing hard, thinking: I knew I should’ve come on Saturday, I knew it!

“I can’t believe you would do this to me, Chris Haggard. Did you think you could get away with this?”

“Why do you have it? That’s for my eyes only. It says right there on the front seal!”

“Talk to me when you get home.” She said with an ominous, flat voice. I scratched my hair, feeling the itch of new dandruff sprouting, and wiped the sweat off my brows with a shaky hand. I coughed.

“Mom, I swear. There’s nothing going on between us—I don’t even know her… Hello? Hello?” I was talking into a dead phone.

The following night, when the frogs began to croak at the first glimmer of dusk, and the stars grinned their Cepheid light, my mother joined me in my bedroom like a nicotine patch wanting a juicy talk.

“Who is she?” Mother demanded. I sat at the foot of the bed, fidgeting my fingers.

“She’s just someone I met online, Mom.”

“How do you know her? Give me her number so I can call her up.”

“No, you’re not doing that, Mom. Will you stop it? I told you she’s just a fan! A fan—and nothing more!”

“A fan?” she asked, pointing to the direction of the ripped parcel and the secret goodies hidden inside. “A fan? You call that a fan? How long has this been going on?”

“I don’t know, Ma. What does that have to do with anything? It’s only been three months, I swear.”

“That looks more than three months, cupcake.” My mom hollered. “I cannot believe you, Chris! I pay good money to send you to school, and here you are flinging around with a girl you don’t even know! Have you lost your mind?! You’ve met her, haven’t you?!!”

“No, I’ve never met her, laid eyes on her, or even touched her for crying out loud!”

“Don’t use that tone on me, boy!”

“Fine… No, I haven’t even seen her in real life, I swear to God.”

“Yet she sends something like that through the mail?” Surely, my mother looked like she was going to rip her hair out. And I wished she had. “Have you proposed to her?

“No,” I lied.

“Has she proposed to you?”

“Does that look like a ring to you, Mom?”

“No, it’s not a ring—but it’s close to one.”

“How can it be close to one?”

“This is why you begged me to change phone companies, didn’t you? Because you were racking up the bill with the text messages with her! Weren’t you? What were you thinking for Christ-sake.”

“No,” I lied for the hundredth time. “I told you I wanted to send the phone pics to my e-mail address. I sent a hundred of those, and that’s why the phone company decided to charge extra sixty one dollars on top of that hundred you usually pay, not because I was texting her or anything like that.”

“Give me your phone.”

“WHAT?”

“I said, give it to me. You’re living under my roof, therefore under my rules. And now I want the phone back.”

I crawled on my knees. “Ma, please don’t do this to me. please, I’ll be your good boy. I’ll be your good son. Just don’t take away the phone. I need it. How am I going to be in contact with you?”

“If you want your phone back get a job. Pay the bills. Grow up and be the man you say you are.”

“Please, I beg you. Don’t do this.”

“Do you promise to end all relationship with her?”

“Yes, I promise.” I lied for the quadrillionth time. “What about the gift? The Valentine’s gift she sent me? What are you going to do with them?”

“Toss them in the furnace.”

“Okay.” I said, dourly, reaching a hand out, hoping beyond hope she’d hand them back to me.

“I said–I’m tossing them in the furnace.”

“Okay, I got.” I cheeped, thinking of Daniel the prophet who was tossed in the furnace and came out squeaky clean and not a blister on him, and sighed. I had survived for another day.

 

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