the westminster news
Published by the students of Westminster School
By Asia Daniela ’24
Fun fact: The United States Postal Service is so efficient that nothing can stop them from delivering mail. Not even the death of recipients. Therefore, when someone dies, the deceased’s loved ones are responsible for stopping the sending of mail or forwarding it to another address.
Six paces down, a sharp turn to the right and a fork in Charcoal street gets you to a lamp post with a sixty-watt light bulb gleaming in it. This lamp post is the prelude to a house that seems to yell “Boo Radley.” If you’ve ever had someone stare constantly at you, you’ll understand my current predicament. You think, perhaps they’re staring at me or perhaps the two of us are blinking at the exact same time, each and every time. Perhaps you never see their eyelids close because whenever they do, yours resign too.
Or take for instance the mystical light inside your refrigerator. Does your memory conjure up a childhood extension of you attempting to catch the light go off? It’s always on when you open it. But it goes off. You know it. You try to catch it go off. Open sesame. Close sesame. Have a little sesame chicken from the first shelf of the fridge and try again. The light is immortal. Only when you’re not looking; does it truly die.
I always assumed that was the same thing that happened at the sixty-watt lamp-post house. It had always been honey, hamburg, and hubble bubble. Mozart spilled out of the oak walls filling the air around the porch in the late autumn afternoons. In the front seat of my imagination, I saw funny dinners where people laugh not because anything is funny but because they have the luxury of doing so.
“Pass me the salt, Eloise.”
“Oh haha, here you go.”
When the November rains fell, I took my feet for a walk and found that the portrait was of a different sort. Something had changed.
The lights were sleeping, curtains being introvertedly modest, were drawn together, the door shut up, and the chimney, fearing lung cancer, never smoked. I figured whatever mystical being lived within that house was on holiday in Mojito drinking up the Maldives. The weeks continued to bid my calendar farewell and nothing changed. Well, nothing that drew my attention at the time.
One evening while drifting past the sixty-watt lamp-post house, I noticed a sand-colored box on the third stair leading up to the veranda. Mail was delivered in the mornings. Whatever strange being lived in the house must have been lazy today. Perhaps, a bad day at work. One of those ‘do nothing’, ‘don't go out to get your mail for six hours’ days. I walked away.
Two weeks later, the box made a new friend. She was a gorgeous snow-white envelope and sat atop his head in a way that would only be appropriate to personified objects. Each week, the packages continued to increase: growing by leaps and bounds. First there were boxes and letters, then flowers that wilted in irony to the November rain falling a few inches from the porch. Then larger boxes, then longer ones and all the while, the ghostly being that lived within those four walls never checked his mail.
As life would have it, my curiosity began to grow. If curiosity really did kill cats I, in all feline glory, was on the edge of a very thin ledge, craving knowledge of what was in those packages and why no one had bothered to pick them up.
Call me scandalous but one package never hurt anyone. The sixth evening in December was my breaking point. I walked up to the aging porch and picked up the first envelope that screamed out for my attention. It was of a khaki color and rather small in dimension. Under my thirty watt-light bulb that night, I read out pain and sorrow from the viewpoint of a lady named Alma. She wrote to Ambrose, who is apparently our resident mystery-man.
To protect Ambrose’s well-deserved privacy, I shall not share the contents of the letter with you. I will however confirm that it ended with an,
“Oh my God, I’m in love with you and I always will be.”
One package never hurt anybody and neither did twenty four. Alma loved Ambrose but it seems he was having an affair with Dorothea because Dorothea loved Ambrose and she quoted their “undying romance” to have been the “most thrillingly radiant two weeks of her life.” Ambrose had dreamed of studying violin in Paris at the Lycee de la Campagne. They had written to him saying his music was the payable kind. Oh did I mention he listened to Mozart. Dreadful fellow! The bleeding flowers were from his mother, the journals from his brother, the letters from his two lovers; possibly three. Oh yes, there might have been another.
That was eons ago. The memories are still fresh out of the oven and in the air, I can still taste the honey melting into that precise moment when that first sand-colored box appeared on the porch of the sixty-watt lamp-post house.
In retrospect, the packages told me a lot more about Ambrose than I would have ever learned if I had been invited to dinner to laugh and ask Eloise to “oh, please pass the salt.”