"Heart Shaped Box" by Jo Derrick
I place the heart carefully in the box and close the lid. There. It’s done. Now all I need to do is to have it delivered.
I wash my hands then wrap up the parcel, taking care to fold the edges of the brown paper as neatly as I can. I secure it with tape, then take a calligraphy pen to write on a sticky white label.
The lady at the post office asks me what’s in the box. That throws me for a minute or two.
“Any chemicals, sharp objects?” she asks.
“No, nothing like that. It’s a present. A snow globe,” I tell her, rummaging in my purse for a fiver.
I just about have enough money to send it First Class Signed For.
It’s a bit of a rush to get to work on time. I change and scrub up. The theatre sister scowls at me.
I find it hard to focus this afternoon, but focus I must. Under no circumstances must I let my mind wander at work. It’s a quadruple by-pass this afternoon. The guy is quite young. Fifty-eight. They seem to get younger and younger.
On the way home I stop off for pizza. This is something I do once a week. It’s my guilty pleasure. That and Silent Witness with a large glass of Sauvignon.
Never mind. I can work it off tomorrow at the gym.
It’s only when I get into bed that my thoughts turn to Kurt. His body dowsed in mud and soaked in bleach, out on the marshes where people regularly sink without a trace.
He said his heart belonged to Courtney. I hope she appreciates it. It’s a good, healthy heart. A kind one. She doesn’t deserve it.
Tomorrow, after the gym, I’m going where the cold wind blows. My flight is early afternoon. Up, up and away towards my cabin in the pines. A whole month away from work, family and the real world.
I’ve unplugged the phone tonight. A luxury. I’m often on call. Either that or my mother phones me late at night to tell me the latest bad thing my father has done, which is usually nothing worse than buying a new set of golf clubs.
As usual, sleep evades me.
Courtney will sign for the heart-shaped box tomorrow. How I would love to see her face when she sees what’s in it.