A mysterious letter is delivered to your character's home. It's not addressed to them, but they can't resist peeking...
Edith, where are you?
Ben, I’m in my office. What’s going on?
Well, I just went out to get the mail and there was a green envelope mixed in with our mail, but it was addressed to Blanch Newland, you know that lady that just moved in a few months ago, the one diagonal to us?
Just put it in her mailbox then.
Well, it's just that the envelope wasn’t really sealed and I could kind of see some of the writing on the paper inside.
Ben, that is rude. Just give her her letter and be done with it. The poor old woman probably doesn’t know how to correspond digitally to anyone so the only interaction she gets is by letter. Don’t snoop. I think there’s a law against opening someone’s mail anyhow. Leave the lady alone.
Edith, you don’t understand. The envelope is addressed to her but it has that forwarding sticker on it and I can see the address under the sticker. It says that it's supposed to go to Blanch Newland in Siberia!
Who cares? That must be where she is from. Now she lives here. Maybe she wanted to get out of the cold and move to sunny California for a change of pace. We don’t even know the lady. Perhaps she moved here on one of those visas, like 90 Day Fiance and she is here to marry her new boyfriend.
Well, the letter is a bit strange.
Did you read it?
Well, yeah, I guess. It was by accident. I meant to just tuck in the flap and leave it in her box but I saw the address and then the words on the outside of the paper, and I just got super curious. I couldn’t help it.
Well, what did it say?
I can’t even paraphrase it. Here, let me read it to you.
Dear Mrs. Blanch Newland,
We regret to inform you that based on the records provided by your physician we cannot allow you to travel to the United States given your contagious virus. It is in the best interest of your health and the health and well-being of others around you that you stay here in Siberia until the virus has subsided and you are no longer contagious. I apologize for this bad news but it is in our professional opinion that we inform you of your condition and supply you with all precautions.
Please give our office a call at your earliest convenience so we may schedule a follow-up appointment to discuss further treatment options.
Dr. Ivanhoe PhD, MD
Ben, do you realize that this letter is almost a year old and it's also from a different country? How do we even know she’s the same lady and, if she was that sick, do you really think she could have traveled all the way here and moved into a house without dying or collapsing or something?
Yeah, you’re probably right. It’s probably some strange coincidence that she has the same name as someone who moved here from overseas. Maybe that name, Newland, is popular in Siberia. Like Jones or Smith, here in the US.
Well, you should probably still bring it over to her. Ask her if it is hers.
Yeah but what if she says it is and now I know that she had some contagious virus, might still have some contagious virus, but she doesn’t know that I read her mail, and I can’t really tell her, “Oh and by the way your mail was not sealed so I took it upon myself to read your private mail. Sorry about that and are you still highly contagious?” I don’t think I want to go anywhere near her.
Ben, she is harmless. Just don’t get too close and don’t touch her if you are worried.
Yeah, I suppose I could just sort of hand it through the door to her. Maybe I should just put it in her mailbox, then I don’t even have to talk to her.
But then you won’t know if it is her! If you don’t find out we will never know if she really is sick. What if she just doesn’t come out of her house for a few days? We could at least inform the police that we thought she was sick. They could pop over there for one of those, what do they call them?
Yeah, wellness check. They could stop in to make sure she is okay.
Okay, Edith. I’ll go to her house. I’ll knock on the door and tell her I got her mail by accident. If she sees that it is kind of open I will tell her it came like that, that I didn’t open it. No, maybe she should know that I know that she might be sick, then she can tell me without it being a big secret. I will just tell her I opened it without even looking, thinking it was a birthday card or something. She’ll never know that I deliberately opened it and read it.
Ben, just go give it to her and be done with this. I mean, come on, it's one stupid envelope.
Later that day…
Hi, um, my name is Ben and I live over there in that tan house. I must’ve gotten a piece of your mail by accident.
Hi Ben. I’m Blanch Newland. I’ve seen you out in the yard with your wife before. She is stunningly beautiful, you surely are a lucky man!
Hahaha, I will tell Edith you said so! Edith is my wife.
Here you go, Ben said as he handed the letter to the old lady. Um, if you ever need anything, you can just come over and ask. Do you want me to leave my phone number in case you need help with something?
No, that isn’t necessary although it is awfully thoughtful. My nephew is coming to town to take care of me for a few weeks. I haven’t been feeling that well. I think it is all the traveling and unpacking boxes. Do you want to come in and have a tea?
Oh, no, thank you, Ms. Newland. I told Edith I would be right back so I don’t want to stay too long. Thank you. Maybe when your nephew gets here you can introduce us. And, like I said, if you need anything in the meantime, just holler.
Yes, thank you. What did you say your name was?
Ben and my wife is Edith. Ms. Newland, you look very pale all of a sudden. Do you feel okay?
Yes, it’s just this cold I am coming down with. Nothing to worry about. I’ll just go lay down and rest a bit.
Back at his house…
Edith, I’m telling you the lady is sick. She looks like she could keel over and drop any minute. She said she hasn’t been feeling well and that her nephew is coming to take care of her.
Well, it's a good thing she has him then.
Edith, I think I’m going to go lay down for a few minutes. All of a sudden I am feeling a little light-headed.
Yeah, Ben, you look pale.