Cheryl Post Office
You've worked at the post office since you were 19 years old and you retired last week. I came in every week to buy stamps even though I stopped using stamps years ago. I've had a crush on you since 1981 when you complimented me on my watch.
I thought that I should ask for your number but didn't want to be too forward. A few years later I noticed a ring on your finger and thought "boy you blew your chances with that one"
In June of 2007 my dreams came true when I overheard you talking to your coworker about your divorce and how sad it is for the kids. I didn't want to ask when you were desperate so I told myself "in a few months you'll ask her out"
Well a few months passed and I never worked up the courage to ask you out. I went in to the post office to buy some stamps from you and when I asked where you were I was told you retired.
If you happen to read this reply with what you liked about my watch so I know it's you, I'd like to take you out for coffee.
I hope you see this my love.
Retirement didn’t come as easily as Cheryl Henderson expected. She’d worked for so long, most of it as a civil servant, and she thought that the solitude would be the best part. But, truth be told, she was bored. She missed the customers at the Post Office. While there were many customers who seemed clueless when sending out a package or applying for a passport, there were many who were quick and to the point. There were some who lingered for a chat. And others who purchased far too many stamps for comfort.
The only conversation she heard during the day came from the television. It was on from morning until night. Her friends invited her to the Senior Center. At fifty-five-years-old, she felt too young to attend those programs. But the majority of her friends either continued working or had relocated to a warmer climate after retirement.
Her son and daughter-in-law worked. They hadn’t given her any grandchildren yet. After thirty-seven years of full-time work she didn’t plan for when she would stop working. Dating wasn’t a priority. She’d closed her heart to love after her divorce. But she needed a companion. An activities partner.
What she really wanted was to be in love again.
But first, she needed to get out of her apartment and join the rest of society.
The public library was bustling. If it weren’t for a new Romance novel on hold that was due to be shelved, she wouldn’t have circled the parking lot three times to park, walked through mounds of snow, and traipsed through throngs of mothers with young children to the circulation desk.
“Can I help you?” The male librarian asked.
Cheryl blinked a few times, trying to place him. “Hey, it’s you.”
“You’re here.” The man smiled, rising from his chair. He looked like he wanted to climb over the desk to greet her.
She didn’t know his name. Her eyes trailed his chest to find a name tag, but he didn’t have one affixed to his sweater. “I haven’t seen you in a while.”
His blue eyes gleamed as he smiled at her. “I heard you retired.”
“I did. Six months ago.”
“I thought you moved away.” He folded his muscular arms over his chest. There was a time when she’d thought about those arms embracing her. It was a fleeting thought. And those thoughts extended to other men who entered the post office where she’d worked.
“There’s no place to go when I’ve only lived here.”
“I hadn’t seen you in so long. And this is the first time I’ve seen you here.”
“Are you a librarian?”
He shook his head. “No, just a volunteer.” His hand reached out to take the books in her arms.
She handed them over. “Are you retired too?” The thought of getting a volunteer job at the library perked her up. Books and people and...him.
“I am. I’ve been retired from the fire department for twelve-years now.” He picked up the scanner. “Your card, please.”
She reached for her wallet, nervously sifting through the compartments for the tiny plastic card that should have been on her key chain.
“Cheryl. Nice to finally meet you. I’m Joshua Graham.”
Joshua. A nice name. She hadn’t remembered exchanging names with him before. But she did remember the many times he purchased stamps at her job at the post office. As he scanned her books, she tried to figure out what else to say. She shook her head. “I have a book on hold.”
“I see that here. I'll get that for you.”
When he turned around, she looked at his backside--from the top of his silver-haired head to the sensible shoes he wore. Not bad for an older man. He still stood straight as an arrow. His slacks fit him well, if not a little worn. She didn’t notice a ring on his finger.
“I found it.” He shook the book like a tambourine. “Ah, Romance.”
Her cheeks heated to a thousand degrees. “I used to apologize for reading them, but they’re wonderful.” She shrugged.
“I read them myself.”
She tried to contain the scoff, but it escaped.
“I do. After my divorce, I sorted through our things as I packed up the house before it sold. She had a lot of Romance books. Out of spite, I made her part with half of her collection.”
A tsk escaped her lips. “That’s cruel.”
“It was worth it. After reading so many of them, I would come here to get more. It was a weekly ritual until I asked to volunteer.”
“I guess we must have missed each other.”
“Due back in four weeks.” Joshua handed her the books.
She pulled the tote off her shoulder and loaded up her acquisitions. “It was nice seeing you again, Joshua.” Slowly, she turned to leave.
“Yes?” She smiled back at him. A short line had formed behind her.
“I hope I can see you before then.”
She grinned eagerly. “I’d like that.”
“How about breakfast tomorrow? At the Copper Kite Diner? 8 a.m.? My treat.”
Her heart skipped a beat. “I’ll see you there tomorrow, Joshua.”
“Happy reading, Cheryl.”
“Thank you.” She turned and sauntered out the door with her books under her arms. After almost a decade of being single, her dream date was about to finally come through.