every summer, i would wait impatiently, on the painted wood stoop, off the front of the porch, at 11:32 each day for the white truck, the letters M-A-I-L, stenciled in blue down the side. our mail man's name was Mr. Hodgkins, and i was pretty sure that when he would round the corner and see me, he would intentionally slow down, because i know that Mr. Wilson was too busy fussing at that cat to have a conversation with him.
Mr. Hodgkins always wanted to know how my day was and how my family was doing, dragging out the moments before handing me a bundle of junk addressed to my parents. on special days though, he would call me back, after i turned away, to hand me the treasure i was seeking, a postcard from Sam. grabbing it, i would run, clomping up the stairs, across the porch into the house, leaving Mr. Hodgkins to neatly stack the mail i had dropped across the sidewalk in my haste and put it in the mailbox, with a chuckle.
arriving in my room, i would sit in the hard wood chair at the desk in the corner, placing the postcard in the middle, so that the magic could begin. the brilliant picture on the front would expand at the edges to fill my room, carrying with it the scent of whatever exotic location Sam happened to be visiting that month; beaches of Morocco, ruins in Italy, jungles in Peru.
large leafy plants would erupt from the corners of my room, the far wall melting into crystal blue oceans. my bed became moss covered rocks, embedded in the sun warmed sands of my floor. birds would call from the canopies of trees, where salamanders clung to the bark, their eyes turned to follow me.
i would walk around these scenes, thrilling in new tastes, mesmerised by the animals that walked slowly passed me. the chatter of languages that i could not understand danced in the air, beautiful to my ear. after what seemed like hours, i would turn the card over to read his words, which added textures, bringing these new places even more into focus. he would always end with Your Friend, Sam.
at night, i would rub the postmark with my stubby child fingers, like a genie lamp, making a wish to awake in some far off land, as i drifted off to sleep, clutching the card to my chest. as morning light spilled through soft cotton curtains, i would always awake to the same tousled covers, in same room, in the same four street neighborhood and poke my head out the window, just in time for Mrs. Lilly to steal another part of my soul. click~whir.
it never bothered me that the postcards were addressed to some guy named Tom, i knew they must be for me, a boy in exile, somewhere in suburbia. one day, i would meet Sam, somewhere on the outside, and tell him how each summer he inspired my escape, through little glimpses of life beyond the sidewalk, delivered in a white truck, the letters M-A-I-L, stenciled in blue.
This is a Theme Thursday post.