THE ENVIED MAILMAN

I have often seen him on lone mornings, the sight of him lingering like the stinging chill on my cheeks. He hurries with a vigorous bustle to serve the citizens of the town, face painted with a mix of nobility and dedication. The distinctive red cap of his alerts all to his status as a servant to the monarchy, and others bow respectfully toward him when he comes to their door. His bloated satchel rustles with the sound of both urgent information and friendly communications, and perhaps even the occasional love letter or two. I have often wondered about the specific contents of those letters.

Everyone aspires to have such a character as his, dreaming of kicking their sloth in the shin and jumping to duty at the first sign of it. A silent representation of chivalry, he lacks only armor. Others have attempted conversation with him, but could get no further than a cordial greeting, after which he promptly resumed his tasks. Indeed, the sheer extent of this insignificant mystery was amusing.

I anticipated his passage through my lane in the brightening dawn. His arrival was as punctual as always. I began with a slight smile and ventured forth on my quest to discover the true contents of his character, praising his hard work.

"Not tired yet?"

He only had time for a curt "No, not quite," before setting off on his daily journey yet again, probably for some other resident to wonder about. My failure did not shake my confidence in resolving this enigma, and I opted to retry tomorrow.

~*~

The first rays of the sun peeked through the unwavering conifers. Myself inspired by the mailman's diligence, I rose and stood outside, expecting his arrival. I waited, paced, anticipated, sat, then finally checked the sundial in my garden. It was already half past eight, and he still had not made his routine appearance on my street. What might have happened? I could not recall there being a holiday on this day.

I returned to my abode, reckoning that it must not be worth waiting so long. Not long had I sat in front of my fireplace when a chatter arose throughout the town, and I stepped outside again, curious as to the happenings outside.

A large throng had formed in the town square, and whispers were abundant. Approaching an acquaintance I had made from working at the watch repair shop, I revealed to him my curiosity and lack of knowledge of the present events. Almost at once his eyes grew wide, and he exclaimed "Haven't you heard? The mailman has resigned from his position!"

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