As a single mom, my very first crush was on my local UPS man.
The first time I darted into the elevator with him, I was clutching my nine-month-old daughter on my hip. I squeezed in beside him, just inches away from his tight muscular arms. Thanks to his massive rolling cart, it was a tight fit for all of us. His sleeve was rolled up on his forearm, and I stole a glance at his bicep.
When the door opened on the fourth floor, no one moved.
“Excuse me, isn’t this you?” he asked, pointing out the door.
“Oh!” I woke up, realizing that, yes, we did live on the fourth floor.
As I stepped off the elevator, I realized that he knew where we lived. Did that mean he’d actually noticed me before?
My face was burning hot as I walked down the long corridor to our apartment. I was thinking of the two of us stuck inside the elevator one afternoon, with the doors shut and no way to get out. No one would go for the “Emergency” button. No one would scream for help.
With these kinds of hot thoughts, it was no wonder that I was still thinking about him when I walked into my apartment. My daughter wanted to nurse, and I sat on the sofa, daydreaming. On a sun-drenched day, I’d be pushing my daughter in the stroller and she’d fall asleep without a fuss. Sure enough, there was the big UPS truck . . .
On the sofa, my daughter pulled away from my breast and milk squirted onto the pillow. She laughed. My fantasy was now over. Back to reality.
But the truth was: I was longing for some affection.
My daughter was satisfying all my maternal needs; I loved her unconditionally. But who was satisfying my need for companionship, and let’s face it, for intimacy? It’s no secret that being with a partner made me less anxious, more confident, and just plain happy.
So, where was he?
Being in a relationship with the UPS man seemed like the perfect solution to my present loneliness. I wasn’t ready to date again. That was too daunting. But how convenient would it be to have this man arrive on my doorstep, the goods delivered as promised?
If only it was that easy. There would be a knock, and I’d open the door to find this gorgeous hunk standing there in his cotton brown uniform. I’d never have to leave my apartment; he would simply show up.
The next day, my doorbell rang and I pushed the “Talk” button on the intercom.
“Who is it?”
I’d forgotten all about ordering a used copy of Anne Lamott’s “Operating Instructions” as a ploy to see him as soon as possible. But now I was panicking. I was wearing a stretched-out tank top, Levi’s cut-offs and no make up. I quickly pulled the rubber band out of my hair, letting it down over my shoulders, and opened the door.
“Gosh, it’s hot!” he said, extending his arm to give me the signature pad.
“It sure is!” I agreed, as my cheeks flushed.
“I’ve lost count of how many water bottles I’ve downed today.”
I wondered if he was giving me a hint, and I jumped on it: “Are you thirsty? Would you like some lemonade?”
“Oh, no thank you,” he said politely, handing over my package.
“It’s really no trouble,” I pushed. “I have some cold lemonade right here.”
It just so happens that I had a carton of Newman’s lemonade in the fridge.
“Well, why not?” he said, taking a step forward.
“Are you allowed to come in?” I whispered.
“Not really,” he whispered back. “As long as the boss doesn’t see.”
He took one large stride into my apartment, and I quickly shut the door behind me.
I dropped the brown package from Amazon on the coffee table next to my daughter, and rushed around the corner to the kitchen. My fingers were shaking as I searched the cupboard for a clean glass. Maybe he was my special delivery, my parcel of love. Maybe it was this simple, to just open the door and find my destiny standing there.
A minute later, I was back.
“Cold lemonade,” I said, offering the glass to him.
I watched him tip the lemonade to his lips. The ice cubes clinked together.
My soul was singing: The UPS man is inside my house, the UPS man is inside my house . . .
He clutched his signature board with one hand, and his glass with the other. I was content to stay here forever, next to this good-looking hunk of a man, listening to him gulp my lemonade.
I noticed his forearm, how tight his muscle was right between his wrist and elbow. I thought about what I’d do after he was gone, how I’d re-fill this glass with lemonade and drink it all alone. I’d sip from this glass, his glass, and imagine that I tasted him.
“Mama!” my daughter said from the living room.
I turned my head. “Yes?”
“Milk!” she said, pulling me back from my fantasy and back into Mom World.
Elmo’s World was over, and so was my opportunity to flirt.
“I guess she’s thirsty, too?” Otis said.
“Yeah,” I said, embarrassed because little did he know that when she said “milk,” it actually meant she wanted to nurse. She was never a baby who said “noo noo” or “na na;” just plain “milk.”
At barely one year old, my daughter was a very articulate and straightforward little girl. Maybe I should have taken some tips from her.
But it was too late. My UPS man was handing the empty glass back to me. He was out the door, on his way to his next delivery.