Gift for the Grieving

lovelightpower “I didn’t order anything,” I say to the lady at the Post Office as I sign for a bulging package. “No name or return address on this. Isn’t that strange?”

“I’m curious too now,” she says and offers me a scissor. Opening the plastic envelope, I halfway pull out a belt and two articles of clothing. I hastily sift through the contents for a card. There is none. So I ask her to trace the package. But searching the number on the tracking slip yields nothing more than the name of a small postal unit in West Virginia. “Maybe you have a secret admirer,” she says, as I wonder how to thank the sender.

When I get home I empty the envelope onto the kitchen counter. The two articles of clothing turn out to be a two-piece bathing suit. I’m squirming because it looks like my size. I rifle through maps of shrines to hike to in Japan, a blank journal, an opened bag of cough drops, a Thai recipe book, … When I unwrap an expensive I-5 cellphone and two hundred-dollar bills, I throw everything back into the envelope, put the whole thing outside in case it’s a bomb, and call the State Police.

Four hours later, standing over my counter between the immaculately polished state trooper and my tattooed son in his undershirt, we’re discussing remote detonation devices, secret surveillance cameras, stolen cellphones rigged with porn videos or obscene messages, and anthrax scares. Is the half-used sheet of decongestant pills and container of candy-laxatives really illegal drugs? I’ve landed in the middle of a strange movie involving high tech identity theft and gangland mystery.

“This is the strangest thing I’ve ever seen,” the trooper says. He inventories each of the twenty items as I suffer hot flashes and chills. From the back of the phone he un-tapes a postcard with a message that begins, “Lover.” I recall the recent shout-out on Twitter from my son’s friend, Jon Bones Jones, advising his followers to check out my website; within seconds a tweet had come back calling me “a hottie.” Then and now, I cling to my cover:

“I’m just a heartbroken grieving mother, my kid died, I’m a mess, I’m almost 63, no one should want me.”

“Did you mention you were sick recently?” the trooper asks. “There’s aspirin and cold remedies, Kleenex, vitamin supplements and a prayer from a temple. There seems to be some cultural thing we don’t understand here. Someone cares about your health.”

Or my sender also knows loss. I take another look at this anonymous care package. At the phone that turns out is not stolen but is locked, unusable, into a TMobile account. At the warm red design on the handmade coaster. I’m still wondering what to make of this gift. But I pass the maps and half the money on to my friend’s son, an exchange student in Japan who needs cash. I start a care package for a friend who just lost her husband.

And I tape the paper with the  prayer for happiness to my wall.


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4 thoughts on “Gift for the Grieving

  1. Pingback: The End of the Anonymous Care Package | ANYTHING'S POSSIBLE - EVEN JOY

  2. Elaine Mansfield

    Amazing, Robin. I don’t know what I would have done, but I’d be so curious about who sent this. Doesn’t sound ominous, but a mystery. I wonder if you’ll hear more later. I’ll be waiting for the next installment from your Secret Santa.
    And why shouldn’t someone want you? Why wouldn’t they? You’re an amazing woman.
    Warmly in the melting snow,

  3. Lynne Taetzsch

    Robin, when you are out there “on the net” you never know what might come your way from anywhere in the world. Since I’ve had my art out there for over 10 years, I occasionally receive a package from someone I don’t know–often some artwork or a plea to help the person develop or market their own art. But photos and other kinds of messages come, too, and sometimes with invitations to meet the person.

    I try to give these “gifts” the most positive interpretation possible. It sounds like (after the first scare) that you are doing that, too.


  4. robinbot Post author

    I learned something: If you look into the layers, there is often a hidden message. If you don’t bother to look, you may live forever in a world of misunderstanding. I don’t know how to thank someone who leaves no trace. But I can pass on a gift in return. Many cheers to you, whoever you are.


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