A short story by Navid Hamzavi
Bit by bit, I came to doubt everything: the post office, Kate & William, the British Government and the nobility of London underground; me and all those who got that bloody postcard, holed.
By chance there is a picture of me in the background of one of those Royal Wedding postcards that commemorate April 29, 2011 (three months after I arrived in London).
The fact that I was able to attend the Royal wedding of HRH prince William of Wales, grandson of Queen Elizabeth and second in line to the throne, to Miss Catherine Middleton, of course distinguishes me.
A month later, I saw the postcard in a bookstore. I was so psyched I bought all 33 postcards that the store had in stock. To see myself among the British at the Royal Family Wedding next to Westminster Abbey, while the Prince and Princess’s carriage was passing by, blew me away.
Though it cost me about £67.60 (9 + 9 = £18 on return tickets, national rail plus missing one work day= 8 x 6.20 = £49.60), compared to the wedding expenses (£434,000 wedding gown + £80,000 wedding cake + £800,000 wedding flowers; other expenses such as church, food, decorations, security etc= £32,000,000) it was nothing.
I sent one of the postcards to my friend immediately. I circled my face with a mauve marker to make it noticeable and added a note in my own handwriting on the back of the card:
This picture was taken next to the Westminster Abbey.
It’s 12:15 in the afternoon. Kate & William are going to Buckingham palace.
Who knows? Maybe this picture will get me a British passport.
The postcard got to him holed. There was a hole in the postcard instead of my face. The only punch in the card and it was my face. At first I thought he was fooling around, though he scanned and emailed the punched card. So just to make sure I sent it to my brother and a couple more people. All arrived punched.
I doubted them all. Perhaps they envied me for being in such a glamorous ceremony which is a part of English identity. Their desire to be me made them punch my face.
I sent the postcard to my Mam. The only person I trusted. It got to her punched. I told her the story. She said: ‘Don’t be upset my darling. Tell me about yourself, how have you been?’
There are only a few cards left. I haven’t seen cards like this anywhere else. The only thing that made me happy in this chaos has become one more misery.
I wrote a letter to the post office and requested an explanation. They replied:
As all enquiries and complaints concerning the delivery of mail items are handled by Royal Mail and not by post office counters, Please use this link to contact Royal Mail counters service.
So I wrote to Royal Mail:
It looks as if my mail has been opened . . .
The following phrases in their response stopped me from writing to Royal Mail again:
We are only able to deal with claims if an item has been posted or delivered by us. We are not responsible for an item posted or handled by another postal operator.
The post office of my very own country was an intermediary.
I sent the postcard by a private courier to my Mam. I took a picture of the envelope to compare it with the one that arrived. I even put a special mark on the envelope. The package arrived on time. There was no difference between the envelope when I sent it and when it was received. This time, again, I am not in the picture.
Sending the postcard was a mistake from the very beginning. Now I stare at the postcard less than before. I am hardly in touch with my friends, and do not think about the postcard.
The distance between the two countries is a good excuse. Long distance keeps people safe. Long-time absence is mysterious. Mystery is perceived more favourably.
After that incident, I printed the postcard on a poster and hung it on my wall, so if a relative stopped by he would notice me among the people at the Royal Wedding.
At first I would stare at the poster every night before bedtime, scanning the image until I rediscovered myself in the picture.
Now, I sometimes even forget that the poster is hanging on the wall.
For a while now I have not been able to see myself in the poster no matter how hard I try.
Navid Hamzavi, was born in 11 November 1980, in Shiraz, Iran. He graduated in Metallurgy Engineering in Iran. His first collection of short stories, Rag-and-Bone Man, was published in 2010, and was severely censored by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.
Since moving to London, he has been pursuing his career in writing and performing. In 2011, he was selected as one of the committee members of Exiled Writer Ink, London.