Fiction: The Package
by Bob Schwartz
When I placed the order online, I got an email within seconds, telling me the order was received.
I got another email telling me the order was being processed.
I got another email telling me the order was ready to be shipped and giving me the tracking number.
I checked the tracking number, but it told me that it was getting ready to be picked up by the shipping company.
After that, I tracked the package just about every time I sat down at the computer. All I had to do was click the circular arrow at the top of the browser page and updated tracking information would appear. Of course, if nothing had happened and nothing had changed, the page would look exactly the same.
Sometime in the middle of the night, the package was picked up for the first leg of its journey. I wasn’t actually awake when this happened. I was asleep, and had no plans to stay up waiting for something that might or might not happen. It was in the morning that I got the news, when I poured a cup of coffee and went right to my computer and refreshed the tracking page.
In the days that followed, I watched the package wend its way from there to here. It made a couple of stops in between, each one for a few hours, then it was on the road again.
One morning the message was “out for delivery.” There was a promise that it would be delivered by 8:00pm, but usually packages showed up earlier. This one did. Around noon, just as I was making my lunch, the doorbell rang. If I had not been home, they might have left a tag on the door. Or sometimes the delivery person leaves it at the door, without getting a signature, because he knows me. Today, I was home. He handed me the box and I signed.
I went to the computer to check. It told me the package had been delivered and it was signed for by me, my last name only.
It had been a long trip, about five hundred miles, and now it was over. I printed out the final tracking page and put it on top of the box. For later. Now it was lunchtime.