The first time she had been walking home from the library. Her mother was screaming over something on the sidewalk she couldn’t see as the cars sped by. He met her there, read Harold and the Purple Crayon to her until the ambulance arrived.

The second time was in a grocery store. They tried every cereal in the aisle and he waved goodbye when they brought out the defibrillator.

She tried to tell her mother about him but her mother cried and cried.

She grew up with him. They rendezvoused once a month sometimes more, most often at home now, where she spent all her time. They read together, made tea. She asked often if she could go with him.

There would be time he said, that his house was large and he would be glad of company


The next to last time, they met on his doorstep, braided daisies and blew dandelions, swung from the oak out front. He invited her in, showed her the kitchen and the library, but did not close the door behind her.

The next time, Hyacinth took her shoes off at the door. She stepped inside and pushed it gently closed until it clicked, ran her fingers over the spines of the books, made two cups of tea, and called his name.

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