Jack thinks he hears a knock at the door but the sound is so rare that he waits for a second knock before lifting himself out of the lazy boy. It’s the new girl he watched move in earlier in the week as she slid boxes over the sheets of frozen January snow. How helpless he felt knowing he couldn't be of any help about such things nowadays.
She has a smile on her face, so he throws out the fear that she’s here to complain about the volume on his television. The family below him often complains, but then what do they know about being eighty-four? Absolutely nothing, that’s what.
“Hi there!” she says. “I just moved in and thought I’d come down and introduce myself.”
“Hello, hello. Please come in,”Jack replies. They sit and chat about everything, it seems. It turns out she is not only new to the building, but also to the neighbourhood. She knows no one on the left bank of the Red. It’s a rare thing indeed to see a French girl move to this side of the river.
Jack, on the other hand, has lived here since returning from the war, back when the house next door was not used as a house and still kept horses warm in the winter. Back when these old elms weren’t quite so old, didn’t hang above the rooftops. He has since raised three daughters in this brownstone and recently, he has had to bury his wife.
Oh, Jack has a great deal to share with the new tenant. She seems to appreciate the thick history of this old river neighbourhood and its stories, but he is most pleased when she tells him she’s a writer. She will help him with the editing of his autobiography, won’t she? And maybe help him understand this one drop-down menu that's giving him trouble in Windows Word?
By the following Friday, Jack has himself a dinner date – how hard he finds it to eat alone since his wife, well... Friday they will drink red wine and dine on fresh liver pâté at Nibbler’s Nosh, while Ron Paley plays some sixteen beat on the piano, accompanied by a bass man. They will discuss their favourite genres of music and discover their mutual love of nature.