Thursday, January 31, 2013

"Awaiting Delivery" by John Wiley

I don’t remember which book I read this in, but it was way back before I was blogging, or even e-mailing for that matter. It meant enough to me that I Xeroxed the story and have kept it for many years, so it’s worth sharing. It was written by John Wiley of Charlotte, North Carolina and was in a book which I had obviously borrowed from a library.

I found it  the other day in a stack of stuff I was putting in order; something I find myself doing more and more these days. Not for any particular reason; except to have a complete picture of who I am and the things which I like. This is one that I like. It cuts right to the random nature of our lives and how one tiny thing can affect another, underscoring; once again; that we are all connected. Here is  Mr. Wiley’s tale;

Awaiting Delivery by John Wiley

I work as a Postal letter carrier in Charlotte, North Carolina. One day a couple of years ago, I drove up to a mailbox. Christy, the young divorcee who lived there, was waiting by the side of the road. She said that she had a story to tell me.

About six months earlier, it seems that I had delivered a letter to her which had her street number on it but was addressed to another house with the same number on a different street in the neighborhood. She had to run some errands, so she decided to drop off the letter at the correct house.

It turned out that the letter had been intended for Stan, who happened to be single. They talked for a little while, and later on he called. They started dating and had been going out together ever since.
I was embarrassed about delivering the letter wrong, but I was pleased that I had brought these two nice people together.

A few months later, a For Sale sign went up in Christy’s yard, and then the wedding invitations were sent out. In short order the house was sold, the wedding happened, and Christy and her kids moved into Stan’s house.

A few months later, I saw a For Sale sign in their yard. I feared the marriage might be in trouble, so I made an excuse to go to their door and check on them.

Christy opened the door, smiled broadly, and pointed to her stomach. “We’re having twins!” she said. “This house won’t be big enough, so we have to move.”

As I walked back to my truck, I was suddenly overwhelmed by the thought that my one mis-delivered letter was now giving two little yet-to-be-born people a shot at life. Awesome.

Note: The above story was originally published in "I Thought My Father was God" which was edited by Paul Auster of NPR's "All Things Considered." The book was released in 2002 and was part of NPR's National Story Project.

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