The bundled-up mailman trudges his way through the snowy sidewalks of Syracuse, NY. His nose is stuffed. His cheeks are bright red. He grumbles about unshoveled sidewalks and casts his head strategically downward to combat a menacing wind that slaps hard at his face and toys with his scarf. He crosses the street, his soaked boots having already lost the battle against mangled snow that unmerciful cars have turned into ugly gray slush. He drops four pieces of mail into the box at a little gray house with pale-blue trim, then navigates his way down a narrow snow path that’s been half-ass shoveled at best.
Sheltered inside the little gray house with its pale-blue trim, a somber-faced man with chalky white skin watches from a curtain pulled back. He throws on a coat and rushes outside, nearly slipping on ice that’s up for a fight. He steadies himself and buttons his coat.
Images of their emotional airport embrace flash through his mind. “When I get back, we’ll have hot chocolate and make angels in the snow,” she had whispered in his ear while caressing his cheek. He had hugged her even harder, not wanting to let go. “I’ll be back before you know it,” she had assured him in a soft soothing voice.
He tramples over boot-prints left behind in the snow by a mailman just doing his job. “Could this be the day?” he wonders out loud, his shaky voice making puffs of smoke in the frigid Syracuse air. His hands, un-gloved, shiver from the brutal cold or maybe from something far worse. He reaches inside the cold metal box where four pieces of mail are nesting. There are two pieces of junk mail that he won’t bother to open, an overdue bill that he’ll eventually open and a postcard, at last, from the true love of his life.
“L.A. is amazing,” she writes, “just absolutely amazing!!! Still, I can’t wait to get back home.” He studies her happy handwriting, then flips over the postcard and strokes his bare hand across the sun-soaked Los Angeles scene. “Liar,” he says, knowing full well she was gone for good.
Paul Germano lives in Syracuse, NY; with his dog April, a strong, muscular and lovable pit bull. Germano’s fiction (flash and otherwise) has been published in roughly 25 print and online magazines including his three most recent flash pieces, all published in 2012, “Settled in Connecticut,” in Marco Polo, “Can of Worms” in the Journal of Microliterature and “Western” in the Vestal Review.
Filed under: Guest Writers