Vietnamese Lipstick


Yesterday, a small envelope arrived in the mail. It was addressed to someone who doesn’t live here. It was a name we didn’t recognize. It was sent to our address, and our apartment, however. It was shipped from a company in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The invoice on the back of the envelope said that it contained one tube of lipstick. The shape of the envelope’s bulge suggested that was true.

I didn’t think too much about it last night. Someone had sent the company a wrong address, or maybe a wrong apartment number. That’s all. Return postage was guaranteed.

As I dropped it in the mailbox this morning, so the lipstick could make its way back to Hanoi, it started bugging me. What was so special about this lipstick that someone would order a single tube all the way from Vietnam? I don’t know anything about lipstick, but I do know that people have their favorite brands. I wondered how much this lipstick cost. Was it expensive enough to justify the shipping cost? Was it so expensive that the person ordering it could afford only a single tube?

I do love a mystery.

(Of course, I buy my shoes from Ethiopia.)

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