The Goodness Of The Universe
Article ID: 11132
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 4,023
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Posted: April 22nd. 2007
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Cindy ate her lunch and watched the ocean breakers dance on the beach. It was her favorite place to park her mail truck at noon and the sounds and smells of the ocean was a good break from delivering mail. She finished her sandwich and the last of the coffee from her thermos and sent a ‘thank you’ to the Universe for a good day and for her life.
Cindy had a kind face and dark red hair to her shoulders She drove the mail truck with practiced ease around her route in Ocean Shores. Her first delivery after lunch was a package for a Roy Walters, a retired man who lived alone with 4 cats.
Cindy knocked on his door and heard the man coming, his cane thumping along the floor. 'Hello Mr. Walters. I need you to sign for this. It is from Montana, maybe a care package from your daughter.”
“Cookies, Cindy, only cookies. My daughter sends them through the mail like they were new money. “
“How is the youngest employee of the Postal Service? Say, how did you get hired? Did they wave the minimum age limit?”
Cindy’s eyes crinkled in a smile. “I am almost 29 and you jolly well know it.”
“Well, you must have lived a very clean life, because you look so young.”
“That’s right. I have had a very boring life, except for carrying the mail to nosey old men, my life has been real dull.”
They both laughed as she got in her truck and drove off. “If that old man really knew my story,” thought Cindy.
Most of her postal patrons liked her and almost all of them agreed with Roy. She was young looking and must have escaped some of life's storms like divorce and heartache because her smile was genuine and she seemed so carefree about life. No one who saw Cindy and Rob together would believe they had only been married a year, they were so at ease together.
A few people on her route knew Cindy's story and they kept her secrets. Every Thursday night in the basement of a church in Ocean Shores, she saw those people and when her turn came, she would rise and say to a group of friends who loved her unconditionally:
"Hello, my name is Cindy...¦and I am an alcoholic".
Cindy was born in Seattle to a home where abuse was far more plentiful than food. Her mother was usually drunk when she came home from school and often went into drunken rages. Cindy was usually the first one home from school and bore the brunt of her mother's anger. When she was 14, Cindy had endured all she could at home and started living on the streets, in the Pike Place District. She turned her first trick for food money.
For the next few years, she lived on the street and stayed alive by her wits. She started drinking and the days and nights went by in a gray haze of street life and booze. She was eighteen and half drunk when a man from the Salvation Army Mission on First and Pine walked up to her.
"I don't know what your past was like, but we have a new women's shelter. It doesn't cost you anything, but you must dry out to stay in the program and we will teach you job skills to get you off of the street."
Cindy figured she had nothing to lose. She stayed in the program, graduated and was placed in a job at the Post Office as a clerk at a mail sorting facility in Renton. She roomed with another girl and for the first time, had money in her pocket.
Postal work appealed to Cindy. She had a quick mind and liked the security of a job with the Post Office. By the time she met Fred, she had been promoted to lead on her shift. He was a maintenance electrician who maintained the sorting machines in the Seattle District. He made a point of visiting with her every time he was at the Renton Station and it wasn't long before he asked her out.
It was Cindy's first real date and she didn't fall for Fred, he fell for her. There were lots of dates and Fred was pleasant company and he was safe. She felt he would never take advantage of her and when he asked her to marry him, she said yes. They bought a house in the Highlands of Renton. It seemed to Cindy, like she was being carried in a direction that she had not chosen, but she had no place better to go.
After a year of marriage, Cindy was pregnant and Fred was ecstatic at the idea of a child. On one of the first warm days of spring, she gave birth to little Amy at Swedish Hospital. Cindy took three months off to care for the baby. She got a sitter one afternoon to do some shopping. The groceries in her cart and she was heading for checkout when she passed the wine bottles, stacked in pretty rows.
"What the heck. I don't have to drink. I can take it or leave it and some wine might help me to relax." When she got home, she paid the sitter and put away the groceries.
Amy was down for a nap as Cindy took her first drink in years.
It was as if Cindy had never left the bottle. She hid her drinking from Fred for a time and then she promised a hundred times to quit. In the next 7 years, she lost her husband and daughter and what was left of her self-respect. Fred divorced her and got full custody of Amy.
Cindy moved into an apartment near work. She paid her child support and lived in a fog until she was called into her boss's office where she received an ultimatum. It was either 'dry out or get out'. The Post Office paid for her treatment at a center in North Seattle. She lived there full time for five weeks.
When she returned to work, she was five pounds lighter and healthy. She tried to see Amy, as the young girl grew older, but the girl told her mother she never wanted to see her again. So, Cindy sent the child support checks and when a job in Ocean Shores opened up, she applied for it. Her boss told her she got the job and shook her hand. She had a chance at a new start and a job that paid more money.
She moved into a cute apartment that overlooked the beach and she learned how to deliver mail. Her smile was genuine, but so were the tears that hit the floor of the church basement, as she told her AA friends of how much she had lost.
They handed her Kleenex and they understood. Some used a tissue for themselves, when Cindy told them about Amy.
Cindy had been working in Ocean Shores for two years, when she found the oddest note, laying on the floor of her mail truck. The note had come out of its envelope and was hand written to a foreign bride agency.
I wonder if you might help me find a wife to love.
I have had no luck in my own country. Would you please send me some information about your agency?
Cindy couldn't tell if it was a joke or some old loser trying to score with a young thing from Russia. She looked in her truck for the envelope but never found one. It must have got separated from the letter at the station. It was against the rules, but she kept the letter. She looked for a Chalmers in the Ocean Shores phone book, but found none. After awhile, she put the note to the back of her mind.
She worked hard that fall and into the dark, rainy days of winter. The holidays involved working lots of overtime and she buried herself in the work. It was New Years Eve and Cindy had gone to see a play in Aberdeen. The Driftwood Players had put on a good comedy and Cindy stopped by Billy's and had a burger before she headed home.
She liked to watch the people in a restaurant and knew a few from Ocean Shores. People were starting to drink the New Year in and Cindy left for home. When she pulled out of the parking lot at the restaurant, she ran over a small nail. The puncture from the nail caused a slow leak in the tire and she had crossed the Humptulips River and was half way home when the tire went flat and her steering wheel started to vibrate. It was rainy and cold and pitch black out.
She got a flashlight from the dash and looked at the tire. She opened the trunk and was taking out the spare when she heard them coming, a car with two drunks hanging half way out, singing in the new year. The car passed her, stopped and backed up quickly. In the car were three men, all drunk and all willing to take advantage of the situation.
They started cat calling and offering to help her. The man in the back seat told them he wanted her first and got out of the car. Cindy was so frightened she couldn't move. The three men were so consumed with the idea of using Cindy, that they did not hear the sound of a pickup with a diesel engine as it pulled up and parked on the shoulder behind Cindy's car.
The man, who wanted to be first, was almost to the fear-paralyzed woman, when he noticed the stranger. The man who got out of the pickup had a tire iron in his hand and had every intention of beating the three drunks senseless.
As the stranger walked toward him, the drunk had a change of heart. He vaulted across the highway and into the back seat. A hundred yards down the highway, he finally got his door closed. The taillights of the three drunks car disappeared into the rain and the darkness.
"Can I help you?" the stranger asked. Cindy was stunned, by the assault of the three men and by the kindness of the stranger.
"Yyyyes. I have a spare and the jack is in the trunk."
"Would you like to wait in my truck? I don't need help changing this and it is warm in the cab. I will have you back on the road in 10 minutes."
Cindy let herself into to warm truck with the comforting sounds of a diesel motor. She watched the stranger change her tire and a smile came to her face as she thought of what he could have done to the drunks had the three men been foolish enough to try.
Cindy knew men and here was one who could back up his words. She looked around the cab. It was tidy and smelled clean. She noticed a Weyerhaeuser employee badge hanging from the mirror pulled the badge up to the light of the dash to read it.
Robert Chalmers, Plant Superintendent
No! This can't be the man who sent that note! That guy was old, fat and a loser least that is my picture of him.
The stranger finished changing her tire and put the flat one in her trunk. He even followed her home to make sure she was safe.
Two days later, just after she got home from work, the roses arrived. Cindy had always figured that she had used up her chances at happiness long ago. Robert Chalmers had news for her. The man from Weyerhaeuser was smitten by her and for the first time in her life, she was smitten back.
Her took her to dinner, to movies and for walks along the beach. In no time at all they had fallen head over heals in love with each other. Robert wooed the woman and he showered her with attention. He finally found the woman he wanted to grow old with. He never let up and Cindy never looked back.
When they had been dating for two months, she brought out the letter to show him. Tears ran down the man's cheeks, of gratitude to a Universe that somehow found his soul mate.
Soon they were married and in their own home.
And Cindy cried, but not then.
When she and Robert were making love in their own bed, when she was wrapped around her man, body and soul, she cried.
Location: Olympia, Washington
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