I had grown fed up with the rampant mendacity in my high pressure, high pay profession. The others all seemed to really believe in what they were doing, but I couldn’t see how they could do that. Word games, puffery, fancy presentations and liquid lunches were a way of life. I couldn’t live it. I decided to take time away from it and get a job where I could be alone, outside. I’d had enough of being stuck in a studio, with windows that don’t open and recycled air is pumped in.
One Friday evening when I left my office on the twenty-ninth floor, I caught the express elevator. A courier driver named Jeff got on the elevator with me.
“Do you like your job?” I said.
“Yeah, I love it,” he said.
“Why?” I said.
“I’m alone, but have contact with the dispatcher. He feeds me calls to pick up and drop off things – small packages, envelopes, stuff like that.
“Do you make a decent living?” I said.
“I get along.”
Out on the street in front of the building I saw the guy’s car. ‘Winged Wheels Couriers’ was on a sign in the back window, and a phone number. I put the number into my iPhone and went home to my empty apartment.
A few days later I was on the road, car S17 on ‘Winged Wheels Couriers’ fleet. I started early in the morning for some regular, every morning runs, and then fielded calls by Herbie the dispatcher.
“S17,” Herbie said in my radio.
“S17 here,” I said into the hand microphone. Herbie gave me a pickup at a small book publisher and I set off to get it.
I walked into the reception area, and the young woman there somehow caught my attention. She was not particularly pretty, but good enough, and had a lovely, creamy complexion. The thing that intrigued me, however, was that she seemed to be hiding herself from herself.
She wore large, round glasses with thick tortoise shell frames. She wore a huge, thick, dark green sweater that was totally shapeless. She kept her face down, and seemed to avoid actually looking at me. The second time I went there she was the same.
The third time I was sent to that publishing house was about two weeks later. That time, I wanted to see her look at me.
“Will you have dinner with me on Friday?” I said. She lifted her head and looked at me for the first time.
“Yes,” she said. We made our arrangements and I departed.
When the end of Friday work time came, I picked up Maria at her office and took her to a nice Chinese buffet restaurant. We had a nice time, talked about her job and about how happy she was to be there with me. It was the first time she’d gone out with someone since she had split from her husband.
When I took her home, we agreed that she’d come to my apartment to have supper with my son and I. He was twelve years old and lived with me. I was having an old boyfriend over too.
She arrived by taxi at the appointed time. It was remarkable how comfortable we all were, even my quirky son. It just was a rare evening when the people and the conversation all flowed together comfortably.
After we had several happy hours together, I drove her home. She invited me in and I went. We made love with the same inexplicable ease and comfort as we had enjoyed at supper. The following evening I was invited to her apartment where she made supper for me. We then made love again, and it felt very loving.
The next day she phoned me. It was nice to hear from her. There was a blush of happy excitement in her voice. That somehow made the sad message that she delivered to me not so sad and almost sweet.
“I want you to know how wonderful you are, and you have saved my dismal life,” she said.
“What do you mean?” I said.
“You reminded me of why I loved my husband in the first place, and what our marriage was meant to be, and I’ll be grateful to you forever. I can’t see you anymore. I’m going back to Keith and I just thank you so much. I didn’t realize that I needed help to make the transition back into my marriage. Keith agreed we’d do it right this time.”
I wasn’t really happy that I’d never again enjoy Maria’s body, which is magnificent. Her skin was just wonderful to touch and taste. But I’m just a transition man. I don’t get to have a real relationship, I guess.