Audience of One
Short Story Day 13 of 365
The Lead’s mother-in-law was one month shy of 93 and was the next gig on the quartet’s schedule.
An hour earlier, just after the quartet dined in a restaurant and serenaded the unsuspecting waitresses, Billy phoned to make sure Mrs. Cramer would be home and dressed. An hour would ensure both.
Her husband had passed away three years before and she was left alone to manage in her luxurious townhome in a gated and guarded village. Two thousand square feet was more than any 92-year-old could manage.
When the quartet arrived, she ushered them into the living room and she eased herself into her easy chair. Her movements were that of someone who had lived for nine decades.
The Valentine’s Day quartet began singing their standard two love songs, memorized before going out and polished at 14 previous deliveries.
Mrs. Cramer was smiling and her eyes were closed. She gently swayed to the music as if she were living it in real time. After the quartet finished each song, she opened her eyes, nodded subtly, and said, “Nice. Thank you.” Five songs later, she was saying the same thing.
No thunderous applause and silly laughter as the quartet had heard at businesses earlier that day.
No embarrassment of an unsuspecting Valentine.
Just a simple barbershop quartet singing love songs to a pleased audience of one.
The way it should be.
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