Tonight the small, metal door that, on ordinary days, opens up to a world of bills, ads and junk mail led out onto a field of lavender. I stood there, keys in hand, for a moment, letting the scent surround and transport me to 27 different places, all more lovely and comfortable than the bleak, impersonal mailroom off the lobby of my building.
A neighbor came up behind me and cleared his throat in a way that distinctly and economically said, “could you please hurry it along, I need to get my mail too.” I shook myself out of my mental travels and pulled four envelopes and one magazine off the shelf and into my hands. As I slowly walked to the bank of elevators, I raised the white crumpled envelope to my nose and breathed in deeply, to fill my head with images of sturdy purple-tipped flowers. I had known without looking that it would be from my mother, but seeing her familiar handwriting was a pleasure nonetheless.
I waited until I got upstairs to open the envelope, not knowing for sure what the state of the buds would be after traveling 3,000 miles. They were neatly sealed in a plastic ziptop bag. Also enclosed was an article about Vaux swifts, a breed of bird that roost in abandoned chimneys and funnel into those chimneys in dramatic fashion every evening at dusk, and a note. The note said “The lavender is from a house a block away. Ours doesn’t smell this good. I love you, Mom.”
It’s good to know that my mother will always stoop to petty thievery in order to make my day.