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I was seventy when I met Richard. He was thirty-two. He told me he was a young man, and I didn’t respond to that because I really didn’t know what that was, to be a young man, if that was a good thing to be or a bad one. He had moved in next door to us, me and Rose, my granddaughter, in January. She was hardly home that summer. She had gotten together with a new guy and was mostly at his place across town. All my friends were in assisted living, but I wasn’t. We didn’t have the money, and besides, I didn’t care much about going. I didn’t want to be around people I didn’t know.

Richard had parties at his place every Saturday. At first, it was just the housewarming, and then it was other things. His apartment was an open door, people coming in and out at all hours. Sometimes there were just kids, little ones, over there, with Christmas lights all over the floor. Other times it was middle-aged people crawling through some tent maze built out of cardboard boxes. He even had a party where people brought over their bikes, and we took a tour of the city with him. I did not have a bike, so he let me ride with him. I sat on the bar in front of the seat and he pedaled. He told us stories, personal ones, about his time living here. He’d been in the city for a few years. On the bike tour, he told us about a woman he’d loved once, his roommate. Where they ate in the city and skipped out on a bill, the places they kissed. The city became his with those stories. When I walked by that building, that corner, his stories were there, the way he told them.

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is the author of three books of poetry, most recently Light (Pedlar Press). She lives in Toronto.

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