So, after a couple of days of it sitting in the lobby untouched and me fantasising about ripping it open and keeping the spoils for myself, I finally decided to deliver it to its rightful owner. How could the courier company have got it so wrong? I mean, the address on the label wasn’t even in the right street, it was at least a ten minute walk away. But it was a lovely sunny evening and I had been cooped up in the house all day.
Whatever it was in the package, it was certainly heavy. I had to keep changing hands when I was carrying it. When I eventually found it the house was very grand, detached, sitting on top of the hill overlooking the rows of terraced houses by the bypass. There was a metal gate guarding the path up to the door and as I opened the catch I could hear a dog starting to bark from inside. I rung the bell and waited.
A man opened the door. He was about ten years younger than me and fixing his tie. The dog rushed over to me barking but was soon silenced by its master.
‘Hello, I have something for you, it was...’
‘Where have you parked your van?’ The man interrupted me. He looked all over the area outside his garden.
‘Oh I’m not a courier, I live in the estate around the corner, they delivered it to us by mistake.’
‘Oh I see, they can’t seem to get anything right. We wondered where it had got to.’ The man took the package from me. As he did so, his wife came walking down the stairs. She was wearing a dress and was “all dolled up” as my father would put it. She carried a pair of heels in her hands and when she reached the bottom of the stairs she hurriedly put them on. From what I could see of the inside of the house it was very well looked after.
‘We are going to be late Stephen,’ said the wife, as she grabbed her jacket from the coat rack. It reminded me that Maggie had asked me to mend ours two months ago, it had come away from the wall and I hadn’t done anything about it.
‘Thank you for bringing it round. They really are useless.’
‘No problem.’ I said. ‘Have a good evening.’ I said. I turned around and headed towards the gate but I could feel his eyes on me.
‘When did you say they delivered it?’
‘Sorry.’ I said, buying myself some time.
‘When did they deliver it?’
‘Friday, I think it was.’ The man looked puzzled, calculating.
‘And where did they leave it?’
’In our carport.’ I said.
‘They really are useless.’ He said.
When I arrived home I could hear Maggie chuckling away to a programme on TV upstairs. I imagined her lying on the sofa in her slacks with those horrible slippers on. I put the kettle on and while I waited for the water to boil I thought about the glimpse I had of the man’s house and of his wife. I looked over to the lobby where the package had been kept and up at the broken coat rack. As the kettle clicked off and steam filled the kitchen there was a great outburst of laughter from upstairs. And it was only then I knew I had done the right thing yet again.