November 09, 2021
A young mailwoman receives a mysterious plea for help from an old man on her route and it ends up changing her life.
My grandmother used to say that you can't tell by the smiles on people's faces what goes on in the privacy of their homes. I didn't like that. I thought it meant every face we see is a lie.
But sometimes people hide things they are ashamed or afraid of -- until they can't hide anymore. That's what happened to Daniel Obispo. One day he just knew he had to tell the truth because it was the only way he'd get help.
Esther Turk was proud to be a mailwoman. Her father had been a mailman too, and he'd always said: "We are the blood that keeps America alive and healthy! We carry the good oxygen that keeps it all going!"
Esther agreed, she didn't think for a minute that a virtual get well card was anything as cheering as a real one that had been touched and signed by loving hands. She loved seeing that some people still wrote letters.
Could you keep a love email or a text under your pillow or tie it up with a ribbon? Mail was just romantic, that's what Esther thought. And she particularly liked the contact with people, handing over packages and letters. It made her feel connected.
Esther was particularly fond of one old gentleman, a Mr. Obispo, who always greeted her with the loveliest smile, even though he hardly ever had mail, and then only bills. He always stood on his porch and waved, and sometimes threw her a kiss.
Esther waved right back and threw him a kiss too. She always moved on from #56 Aventurine Lane with a smile on her face. But one day something changed.
The old gentleman was standing on the porch, but he wasn't smiling and he was holding a piece of paper in his hand. As soon as Mr. Obispo saw her, he started walking towards her slowly.
We never know what's going on behind closed doors.
When he came near, he stopped and made a gesture that indicated that he was mute. "Oh!" said Esther. "I'm sorry! Are you alright, Mr. Obispo?"
The man shook his head emphatically 'NO!' and pushed the paper he was holding into Esther's hands. She looked down and saw that it was letter paper just folded in half, with no address on it.
"Mr. Obispo, I can't take this...." she started to explain, but the man had tears in his eyes, and he made an imploring gesture, so Esther tucked the paper into her pocket.
"Alright, Mr. Obispo," she said. "I'll take care of it for you." She walked away, with an image of Mr. Obispo's pleading eyes before her, and when her shift was done, she sat down in the locker room and looked at the paper he'd given her.
"Please help me. My daughter has moved into my house and she takes my pension. She used to buy food, but now she spends it all on alcohol. I haven't had anything to eat in three days and soon I'll be too weak to come outside.
Please, for the love of God, help me."
The note was signed by Daniel Obispo. Esther went to her supervisor immediately and they called the police. Esther insisted on accompanying them, and on the way, she got a bag of groceries for Mr. Obispo.
When the police knocked on the door, a tall hard-looking woman opened it. "What do you want?" she asked.
"We'd like to speak to your father, Ma'm," said the policeman politely.
"My father? My father's mute. He hasn't spoken in 20 years!" she snapped, but when the policemen insisted, she reluctantly let them into the house. It was a mess, full of empty bottles and trash. Only the kitchen where Mr. Obispo was sitting was neat and tidy.
The police quickly got Mr. Obispo to confirm the story he'd written to Esther, and immediately took his daughter away for fraud.
Esther hugged Mr. Obispo and with the police's permission quickly made him dinner. Later, Mr. Obispo was taken to the doctor and treated for malnutrition, His daughter got off with a suspended sentence, on the condition that she stay away from her father.
As for Esther, she always makes sure she is at #56 Aventurine Lane around her lunch break so she can make lunch for Mr. Obispo who is now one of her best friends.
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