a delivery

When the van pulled up outside ours, I noticed a shiver in the net curtain across the road. I stood up and looked down from my window. A tall man with trim ginger hair was walking towards our gate. He was a man who paid attention to his appearance,  and I wondered if the usual driver had called in sick. He had a box in his hands. He looked up. I pulled back. I noticed then that he pretended he hadn’t seen me. He knocked on the door as if to emphasise that, as if to make me feel better. I could still see the shadow watching me from number thirty. Why feel ashamed of The Wine Society? It’s got nothing to do with me. I ran downstairs to open the door. What a surprise, I said. We haven’t ordered anything. We don’t really drink wine. He looked embarrassed, as if I was reprimanding him. I apologised. He saw me trying to look over his shoulder, and so he stood back and then turned to look with me. Neighbours is it? he said. I asked him where to sign. He held the piece of paper on top of the box he was about to give me. I could feel the breathing from his nose on my cheek. It was only after he’d gone that I was struck by that, and when I returned to my desk to continue my work I watched him from the window, filling in the rest of the form in the front of his van. He looked content and calm.

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