I carefully hold the pen in my left hand and sign my name. The letters find their way onto the signature line; shakily formed letters written in blocky print, like those of a child who’s recently learned to write and hadn’t quite mastered legibility.
I sucked at the flesh of the inside my cheek, relaxing when I reached the end of my name. Now to fold it. The form had two sheets to it. I have difficulty folding one sheet, let alone two together. Folding them individually would tire my hands before I’d be able to move on to the envelope. I tried not to think about the steps that would remain to be completed once the form was signed.
I grasped the upper corners of the form carefully, bracing the bottom edge of the papers against my torso. Slowly, carefully, painstakingly slowly, I gently tugged the top edge of the sheet down to the bottom edge and creased the fold. I turned the envelope over, flap side toward me, carefully, and began peeling away the thin sheet of plastic protecting the glue strip.
Eventually I had the sheets of paper tucked neatly into the envelope and the envelope sealed. I turned it over and picked up the pen that was set on the edge of the kitchen bar. I carefully, tongue in cheek, began to spell out the address of the voters registration office in Austin. Using a Febreze candle as a paperweight, I turned the envelope so it was angled toward my left hand and begin penning my return address. Now, a stamp.
Shit. Don’t these expire?
I nervously picked a sheet of stamps from the tiny mail basket on the end of the bar and sighed with relief when I saw that they were Forever stamps.
Do Forever stamps expire? I asked myself.
I sighed again, this time in frustration. I knew the answer. I just couldn’t remember it.
My brother and I had collected stamps when we were little kids. My brother’s fascination had been contagious and turned into my fascination, and my mother’s career at the post office had piqued our interest (I know, dorky, right? Yeah, yeah. Maybe a little.), and we became quite the little stamp collectors. Stamps, coins, military aircraft information cards, things of the like. Andrea grew into our interests, and the three of us enjoyed our dorkiness together.
I picked up the envelope and stamp, then moved down the hall to Adam’s office. I asked him about the stamps, and whether I had addressed the envelope appropriately. He glanced at my work and smiled approvingly.
I had signed a form and stuck it in an envelope. Big deal. Pfffbt.
But it is for me. The lettering, though shaky, looked painstakingly neat and there were no wrinkles in the envelope. Seriously, that’s kind of a big deal for me. The average person would have finished in maybe two minutes and wouldn’t have thought twice about it.
I gathered my phone, keys and the envelope and scampered – well, sort of – off to drop the envelope in the outgoing mail slot.
I had just signed a document, put it in an envelope, stamped and addressed it, then walked it across the apartment grounds to the mail slot. By myself.
I mailed something for the first time in what felt like forever, and it was a fairly important piece of mail. My voter registration form.
I can vote. The stroke didn’t impair my mental capacities to the point of not being able to vote.
I can vote.
I’m so damn excited.
That was maybe an hour ago. I don’t know how to explain this feeling, but it’s a good one.