June 12, 2013
“A little to the left.” I instructed the workmen as he ignorantly attempted to display my work. Imbecile. I could have easily assembled the display myself, if it hadn’t been for the gallery policy. I walked over to the window, not really wanting to draw attention to myself. He should be here by now. The delivery man. I ordered a bottle of lilac paint this morning, with the guarantee that it would be here before the gallery closed. I needed that paint. Where was he? I needed to see him. Had I been buying so many things online, just for the purpose of seeing him, or did I actually need these things? I’m sure I’ll find some use for the ladder I ordered yesterday. Maybe I’ll be doing something large scale soon. Or more likely, it’ll end up in my attic like every other thing I bought that I have no purpose for. Finally! A postal truck pulled into the driveway. American Express Shipping. I got the same familiar feeling. My toes tingled and my eye lids were possibly twitching, but I couldn’t be sure. I returned to overseeing the workman to appear as if I hadn’t been just desperately waiting for his arrival. I could hear his all too familiar footsteps. He was getting closer now. I heard the attendant direct him to my wing. I turned in almost perfect synchronization with his arrival. I signed the clip board, took my package and looked up to lock eyes with the wonderful post man. I had my lilac paint, but I did not have my post man. Who was this? This.. This woman. She isn’t my post man.

“Who are you?” I demanded of the woman, who I had obviously caught off guard. “Mam, I just deliver the packages.” and with that she turned and walked away. My mind flew into sudden chaos. Where was he? When would I see him again? Would I ever see him again? This was all too much to bear. I approached the attendant and demanded an explanation. She looked me up and down with judgmental eyes, “The deliverer changes every 3 months.” I had only been here a month in a half, how was I to know that? They must have this man on record somewhere.

“Could you please tell me how I can get in contact with the previous post man?” I asked the attendant quietly with a hint of panic.

“Mam, we aren’t allowed to disclose that information.” You’re kidding me. How could this happen? My heart sank. I walked away from the desk, through the doors, and climbed into my car, without a word. And in silence, I continued to sit for the remainder of the gallery’s open hours.

Finally, the attendant left and I approached the buildings back door. I wonder if anyone had ever broken into an amateur art gallery before. The door wasn’t even locked. What luck! It was probably left open by the workmen on their all too often smoke breaks. Getting into the building and finding the clerk’s desk was the easy part. The hard part, I suppose, was accessing the data base, although that wasn’t too difficult either. What a joke. The password was “password“. It’s as if God himself had gone ahead of me and worked out the kinks. I accessed the contact list and looked under “employees”. No mail man was listed there. He probably wouldn’t even be there, he was an employee of the postal service, not of the gallery. I shut everything down, returned to my car and headed home. When I arrived home, I received a call from the manager of the gallery.

“Someone has broken into the gallery.” said the voice at the other end. I tried to seem surprised,

“That’s awful.” How did they know I had broken in? I made sure to clean up my tracks, and I was pretty sure that the gallery didn’t even have an alarm system. What the manager said next astounded me,

“One of your paintings were stolen.” I showed a believable amount of concern, made proper small talk, then politely ended the conversation. Now, this didn’t make sense. I certainly didn’t steal any of my paintings, and I was new in town. Who would steal one of my pieces? This was all too much for one night.

When I woke up the next morning, I had to check my call log and make sure last night’s events actually took place. They did. Pretending everything was normal was practically my specialty. I dressed and headed back to the gallery. My display should be finished today, but of course now I was missing a piece. Walking through the doors made life return to its normal feeling.

“Need to order anything today?” chirped the gallery clerk behind her desk.

“No, nothing today. Thank you.” She seemed surprised that I had nothing to order.

“But, I do have a favor to ask you.”, and this was a favor I desperately needed. She looked at me with such arrogance.

“Maybe. What‘s in it for me?” What a sassy desk clerk. I slipped her a twenty.

“I need you to baby sit my display for a couple of hours. Can you handle that?”

“I suppose. Why are you leaving?”

“I have some, um, things to attend to.” No more words were needed. She nodded her approval, I turned and exited the gallery.

I guess all the times I looked at the postal truck actually paid off. I pulled into the parking lot of the American Express Shipping warehouse on a mission. I sat for in my car for three hours. I had no prior knowledge as to when his shift would end. Finally! His shift ended and he got in his car to go home. I dimmed my headlights and followed him. He lived in Chester Village, seven minutes outside of town. I pulled into a vacant home’s driveway and waited for him to go inside. When he was surely inside, I left my car and crept to the side of his home. I peered inside the window. Where was he? I heard the door creak open and instinctively dove into the bushes. As I laid in the harsh mud, caked on the cold November ground, I watched as he carted several pieces of firewood into his house. That was almost a tad too close. I watched through his window for just a moment more as he lit the a fire in his fire place, then I hurried to my car and nonchalantly drove home.

Now I knew where he lived, but that wasn’t quite enough. I needed more. Where does he hang out? Is he married? Who are his parents? Is he a dog person or a cat person? I wanted to know everything about him. I paused for a moment. Had I taken the mere crush too far? No, of course not. People got to the ends of the earth for people they love, why shouldn’t I? A million thoughts continued to bounce around in my head, but they were interrupted by the gentle vibration of my phone. A blocked number was calling me.

“Hello.” There was no response.

“Hello?” I tried again. Still no response. I hung up. That was probably just some kids attempting to fill their pointless little lives with childish humor. How droll.

Morning had arrived and I couldn’t recall how I had gotten into bed last night, just that I got here some how. Yesterday’s events after leaving the postman’s house were blurry. I called the gallery and told them I wouldn’t be coming in today. The workmen had my explicit instructions, and my display seemed to dull in light of recent events. It was more like background noise now.

I got into my car and drove down to the shipping warehouse. I now knew that his shift ended at 4:15. I followed him to his house, then I drove home. This cycle had gone on for days. Days quickly turned into weeks. The gallery called several times to discuss my lack of concern and the termination of my display. I stopped answering. The gallery, my display, art itself; these things had all become so trivial. All I needed was to see him every day.

Today felt different. Today felt like a promising day. Maybe today will be the day I finally approach him, introduce myself, and possibly learn some things about him. I’d like to start with a name. I drove down to the warehouse at about 3:45. His car wasn’t there. Had he gone home early? Had he been fired? Today wasn’t his day off. That was Tuesday and Sunday. I began driving to his home.

The drive went by quickly. I wasn’t sure if I could remember how to get to his house without him, but I managed quite well. His car was in the garage. I pulled into his driveway this time, confidence flooding through me. As I stepped out of the car, I found myself looking around for any near by on lookers. I quickly composed myself. I was doing nothing wrong. I was simply visiting someone in their home. As I approached his door I worked on my opening statement. I raised my finger to the door bell, but stopped when I realized that the door was slightly ajar. Should I go in? Technically I wasn’t “breaking and entering” if the front door was already open.

I opened the door just wide enough for myself to enter, then I slipped in. Wow, I was in his house. This was all new territory for me. I had followed him home everyday, but I had never been in his house before. I felt a shot of adrenaline, and I could feel my heart pumping blood through my neck. I wasn’t exactly sure what to do now. I just stood there for a moment taking everything in. He lived in an average home, in an average neighborhood, in an average city. Everything in his home was quite average. But it was the complete simplicity that made everything so wonderful. I walked through the front room, careful not to touch anything; not to make any noise. I came across a hallway, and at the end of this hallway, a light shone. Should I proceed? I had already entered him home, I suppose I couldn’t do much worse. I slowly walked through the hallway, running my finger tips across the hall wall as I passed. The door to the lighted room was slightly ajar; similar to the front door. I softly pushed the door open and peered inside. I froze. In the room, at the end of a hallway, in an average home, in an average neighborhood, in an average city, was my missing painting. Not only my painting, pictures, of me, covered the walls.

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