Shayla sat at the table and looked around the room. Everything was in its place. A quick look to the left, you know, just to verify. Uh, yep, the planter sat exactly in the spot it should, snuggled back in the corner of the room, right next to the sliding glass door. The perfect spot she’d gathered— after five trial spots. Its angle from the door gave the plant just enough sunlight to bathe in its nutritious rays without frying its delicate green. 


There was something that needed to be done.  She could feel it, but she couldn’t remember what it was. 

Outside the mail truck whizzed by. She knew it was him by the way the truck's wheels bounced off the desert ground. The sound of rubber bouncing over dirt, sand, and pavement was distinctive. 
She looked down at her wrist. 

Wow, it’s that time already?

1:30 pm. Like clockwork. 

The time to sit and wait for the kids to get out of school was drawing nearer. She felt nervous all of a sudden. As if something vital depended on whatever it was that needed doing.

Damn. This was so frustrating. She thought.

The not knowing.

As she stood and headed for the front door she came to the conclusion that maybe, just maybe she was mistaken. 

Another look around the entire house.


Everything was in its place.

She passed the front window. The sunlight desperate to get inside peeked in through the crack in the drapes. They hung over the window like dark heavy sentinels. She opened the front door and the desert heat greeted her. 


She looked at the thermostat hanging on the porch. 

109 degrees. 
A very hot day, like most summer days in the desert —scorching, sweat-filled days that she had yet gotten use to.

Shayla decided she hated getting the mail today. She stood under the porch's shade debating on whether or not a trip to the mailbox was necessary.

Would there be lots of important mail? Or would there only be the advertisements which wound up rolled and used as a swatter on the back patio, or in the bottom of the trash? 

Glaring across the street, she could see the visible heat that rose seductively off of it, like a cobra being charmed out of a basket in Jaipur. She winced up at the sun's brightness and thought about that snake. She knew once the snake was completely out of the basket and the song had ended, he'd realize he had been hypnotized out of his slumber  and would hiss and lash out at the charmer in anger, sinking its venomous fangs deep into the flesh of the charmer's frail skeletal arm. She looked down and rubbed her own arm. A beam of sunlight shone on it. 

It was angry. 

She decided the sun hated the desert. 

The heat amplified her nervousness and it seemed to transude from her being. 

She wiped more sweat from her forehead.

God, the mailbox looked so far away. But because she didn’t have the ability to know what the mailman had brought her this day,  she concluded she needed to get the mail. It had been delivered. The mailman did his job. And no amount of heat ever stopped him. 

Everyday at 1:30 pm she got the mail. 

Everyday at 1:25 pm she got an overwhelming feeling that something needed to be done, and that something, she at this very moment knew for sure, was getting the mail.


She walked off the porch into the blazing sunlight and her nervousness subsided.