WAITING FOR A PACKAGE
It wasn’t his sole focus. Not to begin with, anyway.
At some point, George realized that if his heart were to beat any faster he could be in real danger of succumbing to some sort of medical event. Not that he had ever heard of a person’s heart literally palpitating through a their chest but, then again, Guinness World Records and the like exist for a reason.
Somehow, this pumping heart had taken total control of his focus. Breathing had become difficult, too. Seemingly because it blocked a clear line of sound from thumping chest to perspiring ear.
“How the hell is my EAR sweating?”
George now was at panic station 5. The kind of panic level Tony Abbott supporters must feel when a person of Arabic ethnicity sits RIGHT next to them on a train.
It was at precisely this moment, or some other one I suppose, that George considered the mathematics of it all.
Could it be possible that his heart hat beaten more frequently in this short period than ever before? It was only midday, but had his heart ever beaten more times in a single day?
Man. Rapidly beating hearts make you hot.
Perhaps the rhythm was actually quite normal. There was a chance that the speed was perfectly acceptable, after all.
What may be causing the distortion could, in fact, have been the depth of each hit. Each beat felt as though it were a bowling ball cannoning off the sides of those bumper rails on ten pin bowling that George, embarrassingly, had to use on his last date.
It’s funny, and deliberate, that I should mention that last date.
Her name was Elizabeth. She was a woman 5 years older with the most elaborately decorated stockings George had ever seen. He complimented her on them 4 times.
Later, George would consider if he overplayed his congratulations. He would also make an effort to look out for stockings in general as he reflected afterwards that thinking about stockings in his previous 33 years totalled less time than his four well-intentioned, yet possibly creepily received, remarks.
Elizabeth was to move away shortly after this date. A new job in Brisbane. That frustrated George, but obviously not in a way that he could express to Elizabeth.
Instead, they made an agreement to mail each other should their romantic instincts instruct their bodies to do so.
George wrote that night.
The Australia Post website told him, after refreshing the page somewhere close to 318 times, that “Elizabeth” (you never can be SURE) “signed for the package” (as with the previous parentheses) at 14:12:07 on Thursday, 19 March 2015.
Today was April 3. Nothing had arrived in his mailbox.
George calculated possible writing times, even factoring in the unlikely scenario that Elizabeth had sought some type of gift to accompany her letter, and added them to the slowest delivery times imaginary.
Today was, in his estimates, the last chance.
With pulsating bowling ball wrestling against his rib cage like a rabid dog escaping authorities, George summoned the courage to approach the mail box.
Hands shuddered. Sweat subtly drifted down his brow and into his eye, momentarily blocking his vision and causing him to open the wrong mailbox. Ray’s mailbox.
Ray was the 83 year old single woman who lived above him. George would hear about this indiscretion later.
Wiping the sweat away, which (for some reason George momentarily ruminated) incidentally contains many of the ingredients necessary to produce urine, George reached inside his mailbox.
In what felt like a lifetime between brain telling hand to open the mailbox and the flap revealing its contests, George suddenly became aware of his still, restful heart.
His eyes peered in. Hopes ablaze.
There’s a letter. A bloody letter!
He pulled it out and loving admired the simple, blank reverse side. That’s SO Elizabeth, he assumed.
George’s still heart had returned to its frenzied state.
Turning it over revealed the AGL logo in the corner. Second notice emblazoned in red.
There was nothing else in the mail box.