After Tom died my zest for chasing Hubert died along with him. I couldn’t get beyond the whole fragility of life concept. You wake up one morning to a day like every other and then – Boom! – that’s it, it’s over with no warning. I couldn’t seem to shake the despair that seized me each time I passed Tom’s office. My despondency must have been apparent to those around me because one morning, a co-worker, a woman who never lost an opportunity to attempt to undermine my ability or deliver a well-timed snide remark behind my back, presented me with a black and white cookie in an effort to be nice. I’d like to believe this was a sincere expression of her sympathy but more likely it was fear guiding her – fear that perhaps I was depressed enough to fling myself through the glass wall separating our offices (because the windows were sealed shut) thereby interrupting a crucial scene on one of the many soap operas that blared daily on her TV.
And so, I simply gave up. It’s a principal flaw in my personality. When things don’t turn out well I throw in the towel. My defeatist attitude can be traced back to the 5th grade when my school held a writing contest and I cajoled my best friend Judy to enter with me. She refused because let’s face it, what 5th grader in their right mind would want to add required work to their agenda. But I was convincing – I think it was the bribe of chocolate egg creams every day for a week after school that did it. I spent hours, days, on my story writing and re-writing. Judy started and finished hers on our lunch hour. The winner was announced at a school assembly and – you guessed it – Judy won. They chose her story about a 5th grade girl recovering from a hit and run accident over my tale of Martians and Sandy Koufax, ace pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers. I vowed never again to set myself up to disappointment.
So that was the end of my Hubert tracking. On the 1st anniversary of Tom’s death, a co-worker and good friend (coincidentally named Judy) and I went to a nearby church on our lunch hour to light a candle in Tom’s memory. Not an overly religious person I did say a prayer for Tom and oddly enough, found myself asking for a sign from him. No, I was not going down the John Edward Crossing Over speak to the dead path, I was merely experiencing a bit of delayed grief.
A week later, feeling nostalgic, I decided to attempt chasing Hubert solo. When a sight popped up immediately I couldn’t believe my eyes – 15 Huberts for sale, all in pristine condition at a ridiculously inexpensive price. It was my biggest Hubert score yet. Did I think it was Tom reaching out from the dead? Probably not but I believed it was a sign for me to hang in there…