Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, this shall be Art Cerf’s last “Decameron 2020” story. Perhaps he will come up with some more great stories for us in the future. For now, he’s hoping to take a break. Better known to me as Dad, it is wonderful to write with and entertain with him on this blog. Thanks, Dad, for all of the wonderful fun.
Mr. Hobbs Revisited (Finalé)
By Art Cerf
We end this series of stories by flashing back to the very first, the tale of Mr. Hobbs. In that one, he was a ghost in real life and a ghost when life was over. It seems Mr. Hobbs needs a bit of an update.
He lost his father when he was four and so became very close to his mother. Throughout his life, he had no love affairs, not even a girlfriend. But don’t blame Mom. She was always encouraging him to meet new people, find friends, date a girl. But Hobbs was an introvert and very shy and he felt he needed no one but his mother.
Looking back upon his life, he remembered one young woman in particular. Her name was Sarah Montgomery and she was a teller at his bank when he was a young man. She wasn’t fat or thin, tall or short, not a beauty but not ugly either…just an ordinary-looking lady. Except for her eyes…how they sparkled with interest about everything around her, including Hobbs.
Sometimes, they’d lunch out back together and she would prattle on about anything and everything and he would answer “Yes” or “No” or offered a three-to-four word reply.
How she loved swing music…Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller and the like, even if their moment had been 30 years earlier.
Anyway, she would have been more than willing to go out with Hobbs but he never could muster the courage to ask her. And within a year, she moved onto another job.
Decades passed, and then one day he ran into her at the grocery. Her hair now was grey but her eyes still sparkled with enthusiasm. She recognized him immediately and they spoke for several moments as the cashier’s line dwindled. No, she never married and the young man with her was her sister’s grandson.
Finally, they exchanged numbers and Hobbs never felt better…and never would.
That night he suffered a stroke and would be dead within a month. Sarah saw his obit in the paper and shed a genuine tear.