The Agulhas II arrived in Cape Town on 9 October. On board were bags of mail from Tristan da Cunha, including 54 postcards that I had written. One of those cards I had addressed to myself. Shortly after I returned to work in mid-October, my colleagues were already telling me that they had received their cards. One of my colleagues, who also lives in Mississauga, got her card on 18 October. When I visited North Korea, I was eager to learn when my friends and family received their postcards. Those cards got through the censors (probably because I ended each card with glorifying praise for the Great Leader Marshal Kim Il Sung and the then still-living Dear Leader Comrade General Kim Jong Il). I have been pleasantly surprised by the responses I have been receiving about the Tristan cards. Almost everyone has contacted me–with the only prompt being my blog posts–when each person has received his card. I was happy to hear that these cards had found their way into others’ mailboxes. Everyone’s mailbox except mine, it seemed.
Yesterday I received an E-mail from a member of the Mississauga Scrabble Club telling me that she had received her card. That news made me optimistic, as maybe some cards were still on their way. I already knew of another card that had not yet been delivered: the third card I had written to Mark. It might seem odd to send three separate cards when they’re all going to be mailed at the same time, but when you love someone you write frequently. I had written a number on each of his cards to ensure he read them in the proper order, in case his eyes passed over the dates.
When all the mail gets picked up at the same time, it makes no difference whom I write to first, yet some people I chose to write to before others. In addition to Mark’s third card and the card I sent myself, the card I wrote to the Mississauga Scrabble Club member and another work colleague were all among the last cards I had written. I wonder if a bag of mail got lost or delayed in Cape Town. Up till now I honestly felt that my card and Mark’s third card were stolen. I had affixed nine stamps to Mark’s card, to total the international postcard rate of 35p. I had stuck eight stamps on my own card. Who knows what thievery goes on in the world’s post offices, and one would think that stealing a postcard covered in stamps from Tristan da Cunha wouldn’t be high on anyone’s list, but when everyone you wrote to has already got his card except the addressees of the cards that just so happened to be bedecked with more stamps than anyone else’s, irrational thoughts take over.
Here is the card that I received today, finally: