The anticipation of what was in that certified letter caused a loss of appetite. That night Ben and I slept poorly with our empty stomachs and full thoughts.
At half past two, our pillows heard our mutterings.
Maybe the neighbors didn't like that we rolled our trash can to the vacant lot to be collected because our side of the subdivision was inaccessible due to road repairs. Trash does stink. What stunk worse was that we were growing more miserable with each guess. In our anguish of soul, we talked about listing our home the next day and finding one where no homeowners' association can ruin another dinner conversation. We were betrayed by our intimates. We were kissed by a Judas, and yet we only had nine neighbors. We wondered why they couldn't come to talk to us directly rather than get nasty with a certified letter. If you have something to say, save the 4 bucks and ring our doorbell. We are almost always home.
In the morning light we were inclined to think Tevye, in Fiddler in the Roof, was right, "As the good book says, if you spit in the air, it lands in your face."
We must have spit somewhere and now it was landing in our face. Dreading the bad news, but inclined to wipe it off our face as quickly as possible I went to the post office when its doors opened. I signed for the evil certified letter. I handled it gingerly as if the green and white sticker might bite. Venom almost pierced my hand and heart, but I looked more closely. The stickers' fangs retracted. The letter that I had just signed for was not for me. The letter wasn't for Ben, Alex, Fritz, Emily, Jane, Teddy, Chuffy or I.Q. either. In fact, the post office had gotten it all wrong when they said the letter was FROM our homeowners' association on that peach slip. The letter was addressed TO our homeowners' association, and in my joy I can't recall the sender's name. It wasn't for us and that was enough.
In our fair city where the birds chirp and the neighbors smile, a postal worker is blissfully ignorant that his clerical error made us wish that our hard-work pies turn to cinders in some recipient's mouth. And if you don't tell him, he will never know.
Why might we have received a certified letter for the homeowners' association?
I come to find out that the president of the homeowners' association use to live at our address. That letter holds a grievance that has festered for 12 moons. The moral of the tale is let not the sun go down on your anger, make apple pies often and never send them by certified mail.
7 hours ago