Alma Mater sent me the door to my mailbox of all four years Even the semester I took off to be an intern in DC Box 1305 was still mine. Not occupied by anyone else. And when I received the souvenir door to my once-mailbox in my now-mailbox which is an oddish nesting of postal portals when you think about it, I opened the box containing the door to the box that I used to open every day, ages 17 through 21. I gamely held the dial, pointing it to combination numbers and it all came rushing back.
I was reduced to that tender age where I felt everything acutely. Where I would stand there in the midst of good-smelling fraternity boys in front of the wall of little doors like Alice in a neo-Wonderland I stared at my fate through a clouded window marked 1305. Would today be a day of discovery J. Crew cargo shorts gone pastels this season? Would today be a letter from my granny signed, Keep the faith, Love, Gramma or would today be a telegram from my old man in the form of TIME Magazine which he sustained a subscription for me for all four years as if to remind me, weekly, to take a look at the world's problems for a moment, from the heights of your ivory tower. Or would today be the proverbial golden ticket in the Wonka bar-- a small slip indicating you had won the college lotto: Today a package awaited you.
Box 1305: the gatekeeper of So much more than mail. Homesick for a home that was no longer mine Missing my friends and an identity now amorphous, irrelevant. Point, wind right, wind left, wind right, click, open: Mix tapes and messages in bottles. I was 17, 18 and ready to go for broke. Love letters and love-of-life letters The kind of love I'll not find again The kind of letters I'll read thousands of times when I do find them When I find them in dusty shoeboxes, in my mother's basement and awaken to the fact of how loved I was.
Was time different then? Or was I just different then?
All that time, my husband was only a few mailboxes away But he might as well have been in a different zip code Later his letters would find 1305 Potted clay and grass His animated penmanship a beacon. He graduated I stayed behind Typing papers and writing letters on the road to earning the letters B. A.
Today we share the same mailbox. And our shared mailbox doors can live closer Can live out of the order of numbered portals in Cochran Hall Sometime a million years ago Or was it just 10 or so that our doors and our days were sorted by mail.