A Delivery Notice Laugh Track

You can listen to the audio version of this post or you can continue reading below.

a bank of metal apartment mailboxes

A delivery notice from Canada Post has been stuck to this bank of mailboxes since mid-December. This package is for an old friend who died more than two years ago, so I notified a mutual friend who could contact people closer to the source and get it all sorted out. No one came to get the notice, though, and, as far as I know, whatever mystery package my friend might have been sent two years after her death must have been returned by now.

It’s so strange to pass this every day. People aren’t always really gone after they’re gone. My incredible Aunt Jill died some time ago, and she is with me still. I feel her when I doubt my creative impulses, and when I doubt my ability to carry them through. She reassures me that I am more than I know. My maternal grandmother hovered nearby at night for months after her death until I convinced her I wasn’t my mother. She seemed satisfied with the information.

Of course, not everyone I know who dies stays close. This old friend hasn’t stayed with me. She has others to stick to, I’m sure. This delivery notice, though. It’s so odd. We can die and have our bodies joined with oceans thousands of miles away, and people will still send us packages to old addresses. It feels like a blip in the matrix. It forgot to forget. It got the counting wrong.

I miss her. I didn’t see her much for several years after I quit drinking. I walked away from a lot of people so I could reimagine myself sober, and I ended up missing most of her last years. I saw them play out in snippets on Facebook, but I was never in a place that allowed me to go back, not even in her last days when people went to say their goodbyes. I whispered my goodbyes alone out loud from my living room blocks away.

This delivery notice on our mailboxes has somehow reconnected me to her voice. She had this husky, throaty laugh, and I remember her telling me how she wanted to be Annie Fanny when she was a little girl. Little Annie Fanny was a comics series that appeared in Playboy between 1962 and 1988. My friend told me this story several times, and every time she would bump out her sizeable ass and breasts with a hand behind her head, and she’d let out that deep, smoker’s laugh that always welcomed in listeners. She’d mimic her 9-year-old attempt at walking like a temptress. Her laugh dismissed shame and judgement. Life was free.

I almost took the notice down today, because I saw that it has been more than a month since it showed up, but it’s become a soundtrack of sorts, and I kind of want to get it framed.