I dreamed about a woman last night.

Who was she?

Her name was Lira. I’d like to tell you about the dream, but you must promise to be patient with me.

OK. I promise.

It began with a movie.

Now you are already trying my patience.

You promised. Anyway, the movie was the one we saw, “The Salesman,” the Iranian film that has something, but not much, to do with Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman.” This Iranian salesman follows clues to find the guy who attacked his wife, and in doing so he wrecks his own life. You remember?

Yes, of course, I remember it well.

So in my dream I am at the post office.

Which one?

I don’t know, it doesn’t matter, any post office. And I go to the ATM to take out some money.

This dream is nonsensical. Post offices don’t have ATMs.

No, but this dream post office does. There beside the ATM are two bags of groceries—carrots, milk, baby food, apples.

What are groceries doing in a post office?

Wait, you’ll find out. I get ready to put my card in the ATM and I see another card is half sticking out. And then I see a pile of money that’s just been dispensed by the machine. And on the other side of the ATM from the groceries, I see a pile of mail, letters, bills, ads, a couple of magazines.

This dream is making less and less sense.

Please. Patience. I pick up the mail and take it to the postmaster and ask him to return it to its rightful recipient. He says he can’t do that. He doesn’t know where the recipient is. Right here, I say, the name and address are on the letters. No, he replies, the only thing I can do is return them to the senders.

What about the other stuff, I ask the postmaster.

What other stuff?

All this. I show him the two bags of groceries, the pile of money and the ATM card.

The postmaster says he can’t do anything with all that. He doesn’t know how to contact the recipient, and if he did, he wouldn’t be allowed to. The address on the mail is general delivery, he says, reading the address. What do you expect me to do?

I want you to open the mail and find her street address or phone number or email or some other kind or contact and get this stuff to her.

How do you know it’s a her?

Lira. That’s a woman’s name. It’s on all the mail.

What kind of name is Lira to put into your dream? That’s something else wrong with your dream. Lara is a normal name, or Lila. But Lira? That’s a Spanish name. No one who’s not Spanish has the name of Lira.

Too bad. It’s my dream and the name’s Lira.

OK, the post master says to me. I see the name Lira on the envelopes. Lira, it is. But that doesn’t change anything. I am not allowed to open anyone’s mail. If you feel so strongly about it, you do it.

That’s ridiculous. I don’t like your dream. It’s illegal to open somebody else’s mail. It’s a federal crime. Any post master would know that. He wouldn’t tell you to commit a crime.

I repeat, this is my dream, and that’s the way I dreamed it.

So I take all Lira’s stuff home with me and sit down at a table and open the mail. I find a cell telephone bill and call the number.

A man answers. Hello, Stan here, he says.

Stan, I say, this is Jackson.

I don’t know any Jackson. Is that your first or last name?

Just Jackson.

What do you want?

I tell him the story of finding all these things in the post office and opening the mail and seeing his phone number.

So will you come get this stuff?

No, he says emphatically. I am in Juarez, Mexico, and I am not coming back to the Untied States because they may arrest me.

Why would they do that?

I haven’t been paying child support and my wife filed a lawsuit and a judge held me in contempt of court and the police issued a warrant for my arrest.

Is Lira your wife?


And she has a child?

Two. A baby girl, 2 months old, and a boy 4 years old.

Why would Lira leave all this stuff in the post office and just disappear?

How should I know?

You know her. You lived with her. What do you think?

She probably ran off. The boy likes to run off all the time and she keeps having to run after him. He probably went out onto the street and she chased after him and forgot her stuff. She’s always forgetting her stuff.

Tell me how to find her to return her stuff?

Yeah, I can do that but only if you swear not to bother me again.

I swear.

OK, this is her address. And he gives me the name of the street and the number of her house.

Now leave me alone.

I took the stuff over to Lira’s house. We talked. One thing led to another. We got along pretty well. And here you are.

Sí, estoy aquí.