I hate coming back from holiday! As soon as I walk through the door I can feel the post holiday blues kicking in. And the trigger is usually my post. I have to open it straightaway. I can’t relax until I know there is nothing nasty lurking in one of the envelopes. I am like a woman possessed. Suitcases in the hallway, jacket still on, I rip open each letter, frantically scanning the contents for any bad news – which there invariably is!
Last year’s post was particularly memorable! After 2 weeks in Spain I came home to a letter from the French government saying they were going to remove 1000 euros from my bank account (which they are able to do in France) for not paying tax on a house I moved out of in 2005. On a salary of 700 Euros a month, I went into panic mode! I had no I idea why they were pursuing me for this when it was my ex who was living in the house, not me. It turned out that he had ‘forgotten’ to pay the bill and because I am still on the title deeds and part of the French tax system (he isn’t, as he has never worked over here) they had all my details and had decided to come after me for it instead.
This year’s post has left me feeling equally uneasy – I don’t have any! 10 days away and my postbox is empty. This is particularly strange as I get post most days, even if it is just junk mail, but there is nothing – not even my mobile phone bill, which comes without fail around the 20th of each month. My initial thought was that it had been put to one side by my helpful, 70-yr-old neighbour, Golden Balls (I gave him this name after witnessing him hanging out his washing in nothing more than a T-shirt. When standing normally it was long enough preserve his modesty, but when he reached up to peg each item on the line it rode up past his waist, revealing his manly treasures). He has access to my postbox, which is next to his in the street below, and is the kind of person who would empty it if it looked a bit full. I have even asked him to do it when I am away, as I worry it will alert someone to the fact that my flat is empty.
Arriving home at midnight I had to wait until the following morning before I could knock on Golden Balls’ door. I expected to be invited in, have a cup of coffee and for my post to be on the table. Instead he peered round his door and asked what I was doing back so soon – he thought I was away for 2 weeks, which I do remember saying. When I asked if he had needed to empty my postbox a guilty look shot across his face, he shook his head, then nervously closed the door with a curt ‘au revoir’. This was very out of character for him as he is usually so friendly and is always looking for an opportunity to invite me in for a chat. As I walked away I had the feeling that something wasn’t quite right, then I began to remember a strange conversation I once had with the 69-year-old lady who used to live in the flat above him. One day when I went down to collect my post I caught her hiding round the corner, keeping a watchful eye on her postbox. She beckoned me over and whispered in my ear that Golden Balls had been stealing her mail and that she was standing there so she could catch him at it. I asked her why he would do a thing like that and she said he was stalking her. On several occasions she had caught him listening in at her door or sitting on the stairs waiting for her to go out. He had also ‘offered’ himself to her in a sexual way and it was just after she had turned him down (having seen what he had to offer, she could have done worse!) that her post began to go missing. She had told half the village, including the police, that she was being stalked but no one believed her. The general consensus was that Golden Balls was far too old and gentlemanly (he has lived here all his life and is a well respected member of the community) to be a post-stealing, sex pest and that she was just another old lady ‘losing her marbles.’ I am not sure if she ever did catch him tampering with her postbox, but I do know that she was so traumatised by the whole affair that she had to move out and I haven’t seen her since.
I am now starting to think that there may have been some truth in her story. Did Golden Balls flash his balls at me on purpose? He knew I was sitting on my terrace when he came out with his washing. Maybe he was offering himself to me then and my failure to respond has forced him to go sniffing through my letters instead? Come to think of it, he is always popping round to see how I am. And when my mum is here he comes round even more. Even my friends have noticed that he is a bit nosey, always sticking his head out the window when they walk by. Sometimes my post looks like it has been opened, but I have never thought anything of it until now. Maybe he steals the odd letter here and there, then replaces it a day later when I am not looking? Could this lonely, old do-gooder really be a stalker who gets his kicks out exposing himself and reading (and I hope that is all he does with them!) ladies’ letters? I sincerely hope not, but if he has snaffled my post he has probably done me a favour anyway. Ignorance is bliss and if there are any letters like the one I received last summer, he is welcome to them, bills and all!