what about bob by juleshg

6 Jun

Sophie laughed as she watched her daughter manoeuvre through the playground.  It seemed that no matter how many time Sophie tried to teach the little girl how to climb the rope ladder the five year-old insisted on doing it the hard way.

“Where did she get that from?” she asked her husband with a laugh as he looked on from beside her.

“Don’t look at me,” he answered with a grin. “Maybe she gets it from the mailman.”

“Don’t even joke.  Clearly you have never seen our mailman!”

Sophie had first met their mailman three years ago when she left her job to stay home with the kids.  She was not sure how long he had been on the route but the first time she saw him she was taken aback.   With his short, wiry stature and straggly, long blonde hair, he reminded her of a villain from a television show she had watched as a pre-teen.  The bad guy had been a mysterious killer that appeared for only a few moments on the screen but had showed up several times in her nightmares.  In fact, ‘Bob’ was one of the reasons she had stopped watching the show so many years ago.

For a few weeks after that encounter she asked her neighbours if they had ever watched the quirky serial when it was on the air; but no one else had.  She dropped the conversation at that point.  If you had not seen the show then the mailman’s uncanny resemblance to Bob was difficult to explain.

Over the years she had had the opportunity to speak with the mailman quite a few times.  He always appeared on the street at lunch time when she was sitting outside with her coffee waiting to put her young daughter on the bus for kindergarten classes.  She had been surprised at how friendly he seemed – even on the coldest and wettest days.  She was ashamed to admit that she had misjudged him based on a television show that went off the air almost twenty years ago; a television show that apparently no one else had ever seen.

She wondered sometimes about who he really was.  Was he married?  Did he have children?  She had seen him once when she was driving around the neighbourhood.  He lived only a few blocks from her parent’s home in a beat-up bungalow that desperately needed some landscaping and a fresh coat of paint on the windows.  She had waved as she drove past but he had not noticed her.

It was odd that she knew so little about a man she saw almost every day.  He knew quite a bit about Sophie.  He knew where she lived and that she had a young daughter.  He knew that she had recently graduated from a college program because she had practically tackled him every day for a month last year while she was waiting for her final marks to arrive in the mail.  When the envelope finally did show up he had handed it to her with a big smile on his face and the next day he had asked her jokingly if she had passed.

In contrast she knew very little about him.  She knew that he had some problems with his back because he had disappeared for a month last year.  When he returned he seemed pleasantly surprised that anyone had noticed – let alone that they would care enough to welcome him back.

She often thought that she should ask his name instead of referring to him as ‘the mailman’ or ‘Bob’ who he still brought to mind on occasion.  She resisted only because it seemed like it was too late.  How do you ask someone their name when you have spoken with them almost every day for three years?  She wondered absently if it would be like waking up from a one-night-stand and having to introduce yourself to the person lying in bed beside you?  It seemed almost rude to ask that question now.

So, she continued as she always had: smiling at him each day as he handed her a stack of bills or a magazine or two and made small-talk about the weather.


One Response to “what about bob by juleshg”

  1. ingridfnl June 7, 2010 at 7:19 pm #

    Fantastic. I have the same feeling as you about some of my neighbors, “How can I possibly ask them their name after so many years of seeing them and even chatting with them in the elevator.” I still want to write a story for this one, since I have so many neighbors to choose from. 🙂

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