During the course of a long afternoon, Elgin Brick remembers his life and the people he loved.
WARNING: This book contains descriptions of a sexual nature and might not be suitable for all readers.
(This selection is also available in: The Empty House, assorted stories) More
She would come by once or twice a week to look in on him, though he was nothing to her but a neighbor. Yesterday, her excuse for doing so amounted to no more than the fact she’d just, an hour before, baked up a big batch of cookies. She and Kevin would never eat them all, or at least they shouldn’t, she said; handing over a paper bag tied up with a big blue ribbon bow, she added, to quell any remaining objection, he’d be doing her a favor by accepting the cookies, removing the temptation. Back inside the house, opening the bag, he’d marveled at the treasure of a dozen saucer-size sugar molasses cookies, each one individually wrapped in a square of cellophane pulled smooth across the top and folded neatly together under the bottom. As he turned over and removed the cellophane wrap from one of the cookies, using the same slow age-worn deliberation and care with which he had untied the paper bag’s ribbon the day before, Elgin again wondered why he couldn’t have found at some point, for his own, someone like this neighbor gal Anne. He told himself if he were half a century younger and she were still looking, he’d be all after her—and factually, he’d said as much—directly to her—more than once. But it had gotten to be such an old and familiar joke she no longer even blushed. Instead, she’d learned to just laugh the words off, fluttering her eyes towards the heavens while sighing, “Oh Elgin, if only…”