There was a flap on the letter box, which would rattle, rat-a-tat-a-tat, as the mail landed on the mat with an empty thud, and Mary would watch for it every morning, waiting for it to arrive. Every morning without fail she did this. Though she couldn’t say why. Not exactly.

But at the same time every morning, more or less, she would listen out for the tell tale signs that the post was on its way. Listening, listening, listening. But she didn’t really know why. Getting ready for work, keeping busy, but with one eye on the clock and one ear to the door, watching the hands as they neared the moment when the post should come. Getting nearer. The minutes passing. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting for something, but she couldn’t say what. Not exactly.

Then from behind the door came the sounds of his arrival. The postman. The thud and screech of the lift doors, or of feet on the stairs. The rattle of letter boxes from across the landing. Then the rat-a-tat-a-tat. The unmistakable sound of her own box. The best sound there was, was the sound of that post arriving.

She’d be off to get it immediately. Dropping all else that was going on, to check the letters. See what there was for her today . Never anything personal mind. Never anything from family or friends. But always something nonetheless.

Special offers, competitions, surveys. Newspaper ads or whatever. Heaps and heaps of the stuff. Gaudy, colourful junk. Masses of it. But nothing personal mind. Just post. Just stuff to keep her going. Nothing from family or friends.

No never anything like that. Never any personal stuff. But always something. At least there was always something.

The worst days were always when nothing came. They were terrible days so they were. No the main thing was that there was always mail. Nothing personal. Just letters. That was all that mattered, no?

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