The last delivery I ever ran for FedEx was in one of the suburbs of Providence -- damned if I remember which one: the package was a broad, flat envelope with a firm cardboard backing. I remember that but I don't remember much about the town, except that I had to drive into the blazing sun on 195 for about an hour and I kept worrying I was going to ignite one of those trucks full of flammable gases when I careened into it. I'd just gotten my CDL when I started this stupid job and I wasn't all that confident behind the wheel.

I thought it would be a great idea, too, because I loved traveling (I still love traveling, but FedEx shot several bullets through that love and now it's on the respirator) and they were great about helping to pay your college tuition. So I drove the hell out of New England most weekends, some nights, sometimes bringing the trucks full of transfers out to the processors in Worcester.

But this guy in Whatevertucket Falls had a house that was divided into four levels that I could see from the door, with the kitchen and the living room and the bedroom all at different elevations. At the moment a lot of stuff was being moved up and down by his wife -- she looked about twenty-eight -- in and out of boxes; their car had hazard lights on in the driveway.

The guy reminded me of a younger photo of my dad, except he looked like he was about to cry and had the beard of a man who hadn't shaved in a day or two. He didn't say anything as he signed for the package, but I heard doors slamming and things being thrown together, the clasps of suitcases. I felt sorry for the poor bastard, because he couldn't have been thirty years old and all he had now was this glorious house and a broad, flat, envelope, but his wife was taking his car and his stuff. It scared the hell out of me, being a young man myself, because I didn't want an empty four-level house to live in when I was all pathetic and alone. That was right before I quit my job and awhile before I changed colleges, and even longer before I finally changed girls and got off the track.

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