The delivery man called me a few minutes after ten o’clock.
“I’m on my way to ye now!” He said, his voice bubbling with confidence. “How do I find ye?”
I spun slowly on one foot, chewing my lip as I considered my geographical ignorance.
“It’s just…. through the village?” I said, my voice lilting upward at the end because I sincerely hadn’t a clue.
Frantically I attempted to chart the course in my mind, but it was just a hodgepodge of picture-book images in there; the post office, the church, the water pump. Was the church before or after the post office? Where was the water pump in relation to either of those? I stared blindly out the window at the rain as the delivery driver rattled down the country roads towards me.
“Alright,” he yelled over the sound of the rain. “I’ll stay on the phone. Now, I’m just at a turn that has me facin’ the post office-”
“Oh!” I shouted, like a contestant on a quiz show. If I’d had a buzzer I would have slammed my hand down. I knew this one! “Turn left there!”
I heard the click-click-click of the indicator snap on.
“Okay and now I’m passin’ a school-”
An image flashed in my brain and I cut in again.
“Yep! Just… if you just keep going past the school and past all the houses…”
“I’m passin’… another school it looks like-”
“Yep, keep going, past that…”
“An’ now I’m passin’ a house with a yella door-”
“Yep, yep keep going, you’ll reach a long stretch of nothing and then there’s a gate on the right that’s sort of at the end of the hedgerow…”
“Is it a long driveway? Have ye a blue door?”
“Ah I’m here now so.”
“Great! Thanks! If you drive around to the back…”
“Okay will do.”
I raced to the back porch and pulled open the door as the white delivery van swung round the corner. I lifted one foot to step outside and saw that the path down the garden was almost flooded. I glanced mournfully down at my unicorn slippers, then up at the driver, hunched over, dragging a box out of the back of the van. Not wanting to get my unicorns wet, but also not wanting the driver to get soaked to the skin waiting for me to find a pair of shoes, I kicked off the slippers and hopped down the flagstones on my tiptoes.
When I reached the man, he was watching me warily.
“Did ye just-” He paused as he handed me the scanner. “Did I just see ye kick yer shoes off to come outside? In the rain? Where it’s wet?”
I made a mangled stab at signing my name with the tip of my finger, then handed him back the device. There was a moment of silence as we both looked down at my feet, now shiny from the rain.
“Yes,” I said, since there didn’t seem any point in denying it.
He smiled at me with a slight frown. It was a gentle smile, a kindly-but-concerned smile. The sort of amiable, uncertain smile you give people when you’re not quite sure they’re right in the head. I briefly wondered if there was anything I could say to defend my questionable decision.
He looked down at my feet again, raised his eyebrows in an expression that seemed to say, ‘Well I’ve seen it all now!’, then got back in his van and backed out of the driveway as I skipped back over the flagstones to my warm fluffy unicorn slippers.