I am nearly ten minutes into my lecture when the ghost arrives and takes a seat near the rear of the classroom. While my lectures are rather popular amongst the University of Louisville students, I am not so egotistical that I can believe they are worth lingering in the world of the living after one has passed from this mortal plane. Despite my conviction, however, it seems to be exactly what is happening. My ethereal student has been faithfully attending every day of my Shakespeare class since the semester began, seven weeks ago. True dedication to one's studies indeed.
I cannot see my recently arrived student, but I can feel his presence. I can feel the energy of a ghost much like you can feel if there is a living person near you, even if you have your eyes closed. For once, I wish I could see the dead instead of merely hear them, but the times I can see their fuzzy images are quite rare. My dead lecture attendee has been weighing heavily on my mind for the past seven weeks, and I have made no headway at all regarding whom he is and why he is attending classes rather than embarking upon whatever new journey awaits him on the metaphysical plane.
I’ve tried. Being clairaudient, I have attempted to talk to this reluctant spirit since the first day he appeared in my lecture hall to attend my Shakespeare course. At first, my dead student was the epitome of punctuality, arriving a few minutes before class began and leaving only when the class was dismissed. After I tried speaking to him before class, my mysterious student began arriving only after I started my lecture. Always taking a seat near the rear of the lecture hall, the moment I end class I feel a burst of energy from the ghost before he vanishes to parts unknown.
Ghosts of my acquaintance have told me a spirit does not need to walk from place to place, one simply thinks of where one wants to be, and there you are. I experience this phenomenon as a sudden spike in the energy I sense from the dead directly before they vanish. While my ghost student walks into class like any student, he has taken to teleporting out to avoid my attention. I have no idea why this spirit is so reluctant to speak to me. Indeed, most ghosts cannot wait to talk to me when they figure out I can hear them. So far, my dead student has not uttered one word. That in itself is unusual enough to warrant my attention. Whoever this student is, I am concerned for his well‑being. Few things on this Earth are worth putting one’s spiritual journey on hold for, and classwork is not one of them.
Today’s lecture on the animal imagery found throughout Othello is one I have given many times. I have already covered Iago saying he would change his humanity for a baboon, and am fast approaching a discussion of the phrase “the beast with two backs” which always amuses my students.
“And so we come to a perfect example of how Iago uses animal imagery in order to manipulate other people into reacting the way Iago wishes them to react. Iago says, ‘Even now, now, very now, an old black ram is tupping your white ewe. Your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs.’ What do you think Iago means by this?”
There are a few quiet snickers and two brave souls raise their hands. While most of my classes are twenty‑five students or less, this is a popular class and as such is held in one of the larger lecture rooms. Even though three students have dropped the course since classes began, sixty‑three remain. It takes some balls to raise one’s hand in a class this size, especially when I am the professor.
“Go ahead, Jackson.”
“Well, he’s telling Desdemona’s dad that she’s making love with Othello.”
“Really?” I begin in a snide tone of voice. This is a higher level class. I expect quite a bit from my students and I do not pull my punches. “So, to you, Mr. Jackson, the line roughly translates as ‘Hey, Desdemona’s dad, did you know Othello is making sweet love to your daughter? Yeah, he’s put a little Barry White on the stereo and they are making sweet respectful love.’ Is that what you think, Jackson?”
“Well, no sir.”
“No indeed. Because we don’t usually use animal imagery to denote sweet lovemaking, do we?” The class snickers again. “Let’s see how it sounds. The newlyweds made love like sweet fluffy bunnies. They made love like rabid weasels. The ‘beast with two backs’ does not bring up images of making love. Keep in mind Iago already knows Othello and Desdemona have gotten married, but he doesn’t tell Brabantio that fact. Iago intends to cause trouble with what he is saying.”
Another brave soul raises her hand and is called upon.
“Is it closer to say they’re having sex?”
“Closer, but not quite there,” I say. “Iago is not being that clinical. He’s being crude and being crude on purpose in order to upset Desdemona’s father. Basically, Iago walks up to Desdemona’s dad and says right now, even as we speak, Othello is screwing your daughter. Not only that, but he makes a point to say ‘the black dude is screwing your white daughter,’ making it not only crude but racist as well.”
“Is that really true though?” another student asks. “Surely Shakespeare wouldn’t use the word ‘screwing,’ would he?”
“He would.” There is a single myth about Shakespeare I always have difficulty getting my students to stop believing. “This odd notion about Shakespeare being some sort of lofty, pretentious writer simply isn’t true. Yes, there are some very clever and intricate themes in his work, and his political commentary was as inspiring as it was sneaky, but don’t let the antiquated language fool you. Shakespeare was writing for the masses—the largely unwashed and uneducated masses. If you read something in Shakespeare and it makes you think of sex, or penises, or what have you, ninety‑nine percent of the time you are going to find that what you are thinking of is exactly what Shakespeare intended you to think. If it sounds even remotely naughty, then it is. If it sounds crude and inflammatory, it is.”
I continue with the lecture, covering nearly the first half of the material. The rest of Othello will wait for next Tuesday’s class.
“For next week, read the remainder and pay attention to what sections might appeal to the uneducated majority of Shakespeare’s audience. Our friend Bill certainly had political and societal messages for his audience, but he still had to sell tickets. After all, there is a reason movies starring Adam Sandler make money at the box office.”
The class ends with laughter. Immediately before the energy in the back of the lecture hall flares and disappears, I hear the ghost’s voice in my head.
“Nice class, Professor.”
Interesting. Until this moment, I had not realized my dead student was female.
It takes little time for me to pack up the small laptop I use for my lecture notes, and follow my students out of the classroom. While the Shakespeare course is my last for the day, I keep office hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
My office is nicer than most. I regularly have articles published in academic journals and have a long career as a romance novelist published by the largest name in the romance business. I'm the literary department's favorite child, so I get a corner office with two windows on the second floor of Strickler Hall.
Unlocking the door, I hesitate in the threshold when I see my university provided desktop computer is on. I carry my laptop with me and prefer it to the ancient monstrosity currently humming along on my desk. I only turn it on briefly in the mornings to check email from the department.
I didn't leave it running this morning. I have a clear memory of shutting it down.
If anyone has been getting into my office to use the computer, it's a problem. Though this dinosaur of technology is password protected, once logged in, anyone would have access to student records and whatnot, information which should remain private.
Setting my things on one of the chairs set in front of my desk for students and visiting staff, I circle to my own seat, plop down, and look at the monstrosity's screen. Luckily, it isn't displaying student records. It takes me a moment to understand what I'm looking at.
It's a term paper. A paper for the very class I was teaching a few minutes ago. It hasn't been emailed to me, rather it's been typed straight into a Word document on my school computer.
Immediately suspicious, I scroll down the document until I reach a name. Bridget Devalis. I jump through the security hoops which allow me to access student records and look the young woman up. I'm not terribly surprised by what I find.
Last spring, the university had been the hunting grounds of a clever and soulless killer. He killed nine women, seven of them students of the university, before he died in my living room when he was electrocuted by a television.
The bastard had tried to kill me as well. Luckily for me, some of my best friends are ghosts. While ghosts have little effect on the concrete world, they have a natural affinity for electricity. It is not wise to anger the dead and then hold an electrical appliance over one's head.
Served him right.
Now, I apparently have a freshly written term paper from one of Gary Watkin's victims. A brief check of my records shows the young woman was not one of my former students, but they also show she was only one semester shy of graduating. Perhaps she had intended to take this class but her untimely murder ruined all of her plans for the future.
My depressed reverie is interrupted by a brief knock on the door and one of my colleagues bustling in without permission, dumping my belongings onto the floor, and flopping his untalented ass into the chair across from me.
"Bryce, I really want to talk to you about this tenure thing I'm facing."
Edward Van Dyke is a short and pudgy man a bit younger than myself. He is wearing a brown suit which matches his brown eyes and brown hair. This is well coordinated with his brown‑framed glasses and brown briefcase. If personalities had a color, his would be brown. He is the single most boring human being I have ever had the misfortune to meet.
"Ed, I've told you before that I am not on your tenure committee."
It's true. I was originally chosen to be on the committee, but I asked to be removed due to Van Dyke's habit of harassing me. The department was good enough to honor my request. If Ed wasn't so dim a bulb, he'd realize he's better off without me on the committee. I certainly could not in good conscience recommend him for tenure.
"I know, I know, but you can put in a good word for me. Look, I don't really understand why everyone thinks you are amazing, but they do, so you could help me out. I saw your new book was a bestseller and I took a look at it, but you know those romances aren't my cup of tea. I guess the women in the department like them though. I bet it made it easy for you to get tenure. That and your British accent. The women around the department go on and on about how you talk."
Van Dyke is the greatest boor this side of Boordonia. In the same breath, he has insulted my work, suggested the only reason I have tenure is because women like romance novels, not to mention my British upbringing, and asked me for help. I'm done being patient. This man has annoyed me and discounted my work for five years. I'll tell him the unvarnished truth for once and maybe he'll finally leave me alone.
"Look, Ed. I'm not going to speak on your behalf. Personal pleas have little effect on the committee even if I was so inclined, which I am not. To get tenure you need three main things. Published books, published articles in literary journals, and excellent student reviews. You have none of these things. You do the math."
"That's not fair. You know I'm really close to having my literary novel published. It's only a matter of time. It's going to be the next Great Gatsby."
"Perhaps you have forgotten I read your great American novel. I made several suggestions on how you could improve your writing, all of which you completely ignored. Unless you are planning on self‑publishing, I can't imagine it being published anytime soon. Even if your dismal book was published, you still lack the necessary literary articles and your students hate you."
"Just because I don't have connections in the academic world like you do, it's no reason to deny me tenure."
Oh, the stories we tell ourselves. I have no connections who get my literary articles published. What I have is a sterling reputation for creating intelligent and well‑written articles. It took me years of hard work to get where I am in my field of expertise. Hard work is something Van Dyke knows nothing about.
"Connections my arse. Ed, you are a bad writer, a worse teacher, and a horrendous colleague. I have often wasted my time trying to help you, but you are beyond my help. You are, quite frankly, too lazy and stubborn to improve your lot." Standing up, I walk to the open door of my office and put my hand on it. "If you would excuse me, I have work to do."
"But my tenure review—" Ed is so focused on trying to weasel his way into tenure, he doesn't even seem to register my insults.
"You are on your own. Sink or swim like a man. I will offer you one last piece of advice, even though I expect you to ignore it like the rest. In the future, you will get more help from your colleagues if you refrain from insulting them and their work."
"Insulting? Hey, I was just being honest!"
"Then let me be very honest indeed. Stop harassing me about your tenure or I will make a formal complaint to the dean of the department. Have I made myself perfectly clear?"
"Man, you try to give someone a little constructive criticism—" Ed's voice trails off as he dragged himself to a standing position and shuffled out of my office.
I considered slamming the door behind him, but it was time for my office hours. If any of my students needed my assistance, they would turn away from a closed door assuming I was speaking to one of their fellows.
Returning to my desk with a sigh, I started to read my ghost student's term paper when a polite knock on the open door signaled another visitor.
This one was at least welcome and I waved her in with a smile.
"Elizabeth, good to see you. Come in."
"Hey, Bryce. I passed Van Dick in the hallway. What did he want?" Elizabeth insists on mispronouncing Van Dyke's name. She thinks it hilarious.
I usually chide my young friend for her little pronunciation joke when we are on campus. It's disrespectful to a fellow professor and more than that, I don't want Ed hearing it and taking it out on me. Today I decide I am tired of fretting about it. If Ed doesn't like it, he should have tried to be less of a prick and more of a teacher. Hell, I might start calling him Van Dick myself.
"He wanted the same thing he always wants. He would very much like it if he didn't have to do much in the way of work, but still get tenure. Apparently, I am supposed to make this magically happen."
Elizabeth notices my things on the floor where Ed dumped them and sets them back in the chair before swinging a heavy backpack off her back and taking the other chair for herself.
"Forget Van Dick, he's an idiot. You expecting anyone today? I can step outside if any of your students show up."
While my young friend is a freshman at the university, she is not one of my students. We both decided it would be best for her not to enroll in the classes I teach since we are friends outside of the school. There's no rule against it, but it would be awkward. I also don't want any of my coworkers to get the exceedingly wrong impression Elizabeth is anything but a friend. I suppose there are men who have girlfriends thirty years younger than themselves, but the mere idea is off‑ putting to me. I cherish my friendship with the girl, but that's all it is, friendship. She's like the daughter my late wife and I never had. Cheryl would have loved this precocious teen no end.
"No. It's Thursday and I finished my last class of the week thirty minutes ago. Someone could come, but my students tend to visit my office on Tuesdays."
"Do you mind if I hang out until you go home? The weather was supposed to be lovely today, so I rode my bike. Now it's raining buckets. I was hoping for a ride."
"Happy to give you a lift home."
"Can I come see Billy? My sister gets off work at five thirty. She could pick me up at your place then if it's okay."
"It's fine. I don't have any plans and Billy would like the company."
Billy is my cat. He's a cute little gray‑and‑white pain in my arse and he's quite fond of Elizabeth. It doesn't surprise me. It's the girl's fault I have a cat in the first place. She lured him to my house because she thought I was lonely. Of course, Elizabeth was a ghost at the time, so when Billy acts out, I try not to blame her.
"Do you have work to do? I can do my homework if you need quiet."
"Actually, I have a term paper written by a ghost to grade." I wave my hand at the computer monitor.
"Really? That's cray!" Elizabeth comes around my desk to peer at the impossible document. "When I was a ghost, I never would have wasted time on homework. The thought wouldn't have even occurred to me."
When I met Elizabeth, she was a lonely teen ghost sitting on a park bench. For a couple of weeks, she followed me around encouraging me to stop being a hermit and live my life. The cheerfully chattering spirit got me to buy a new car, get a cat, go on the first real date I'd had in a couple of decades, and generally disrupted my hermit‑like lifestyle. She also saved my life and helped me catch the psychotic bastard who was murdering university students.
Before it was all over, my ex‑coworker Todd and my grandfather Harris—both deceased— discovered the vivacious young woman wasn't a proper ghost at all. They found her body lying in a coma at a nearby hospital and were able to get her spirit back into it. Elizabeth woke up remembering her ghostly adventures and has continued her friendship with me. I'm glad of it. After having become such good friends while she was a ghost, I would have missed her terribly if she hadn't remembered our adventures.
I might grumble about being friends with a teenage girl from time to time, but the truth is I adore her. She is a kind and intelligent person and I'm lucky to have her in my life. By being herself, she reminds me I'm not dead yet. When Elizabeth came into my life, I was only surviving, not truly living. My grief over losing my beloved wife, Cheryl, had frozen me. I will always miss my wife, but she would never have wanted me to grieve to such an extent for so long.
Hell, Cheryl told me herself a thousand times, but I find conversations with my dead wife extremely depressing. That's why she only visits me when she sees difficult things ahead and wants to give me a warning.
"The student who wrote this is a girl named Bridget." I have to shake my head to clear my thoughts and get back to the conversation. Writers think too much as a rule.
"Why hasn't she moved on? Why is she doing homework?"
"Bridget was a semester away from graduating when Watkins killed her."
"Maybe she wants to get her degree. It would be terrible to work so long and be so close and not get it because some dick killed you."
"I suppose it would. I hadn't thought of it in quite that manner."
"Well, you go ahead and grade her paper and I'll get my homework done."
It's a well‑written paper and takes me only twenty minutes to read and respond. I add my comments and high marks to the bottom of the document. I don't print it out. What's the point? I can hardly count her scores posthumously. I save the document and leave it live on the screen. Perhaps Bridget will stop by and see it.
It upsets me that a dead student yearns for something I can't give her. True, she was never in one of my classes, but it bothers me all the same. So many young lives cut short. Wherever the murdering bastard is now, I hope he's paying for what he did.
Curious now, I look up the names of all the student victims in the school's records. He had a type. They all had red hair, they all went to U of L, and they all were lovely. They had one other thing in common I had not noted before now. Every single one had been about to graduate.
Perhaps there is something I can do for Bridget. Opening my email, I write a short note to the president of the university, something I have never done in my life. I mention what I have discovered about the bastard's victims and suggest it would be a meaningful gesture for the victims' friends, family, and the university at large if these young women were granted their degrees.
After I send it off, I see it's time to pack it in for another week. Elizabeth gathers up her things and we head out into the pouring rain to wrestle her bike into my bright red Chevy Cobalt.
The rain has stopped by the time we pull up to the front of my flat. A small cat appears in my front window as soon as we arrive. Billy knows the sound of my car and gets excited when I get home. I can see his mouth opening and closing though I can't hear him yodeling the song of welcome through the glass.
Next door, my neighbor Jessie is out checking her flower gardens for rain damage. When she glances up, I give her a short wave. Completely ignoring my gesture, Jessie turns her back on me and goes back inside.
"She still hasn't forgiven you? That woman is such a biotch."
"Now, Elizabeth, not everyone can deal with dating a man who talks to dead people and is a tad psychic. We should try not to judge."
"I'll judge her all I want, thank you very much." Elizabeth wiggles her fingers at Billy through the window. "You're lovely and it's cray for her to be mad because you saved her things from getting ruined when her basement flooded."
"I don't understand this entire 'cray' thing. It only eliminates a single syllable of the true word. Are we becoming so lazy we can't manage to say two syllable words?"
"It's just slang. Don't be so uptight."
The door opens and I am saved from defending myself by five pounds of purring missile which launches itself at Elizabeth and winds back and forth around her legs. I usually get this greeting, but Billy is quite fond of my young friend and doesn't get to see her often. I'm not 'jelly,' as Elizabeth would say. I don't get to see Elizabeth often either. She's quite busy with school and has obligations at home as well. Like many of the university's students, Elizabeth is saving money by living with her parent while she goes to undergraduate school.
Elizabeth gets Billy's fishing pole out and plays with him while I go into the kitchen and check my email on the laptop which spends most of its time on the kitchen table. Billy runs and leaps after the feathered toy at the end of the fishing pole's string and acts as if he will completely lose his sanity in the thrill of the chase.
"How's Todd?" Elizabeth follows me into the kitchen dragging the toy behind her.
Billy crouches in the archway separating the living room from the kitchen, waggles his butt, and madly dashes after the tuft of colored feathers. He's still half kitten, all long legs and big feet. It's been hard for him to be alone all day now fall classes have started up at the university.
"Todd's moved on."
"Really? But I thought you spoke to him last week?"
Todd was a late coworker of mine and a good friend, both when he was alive and after he died. He looked after me and made certain no strange ghosts with trouble on their minds bothered me. I miss him already, both for his friendship and his help. It can be hard for people such as me who can hear the dead. Ghosts are like people; most are good folks who happen to be dead, but some are bad apples who like nothing better than to cause trouble for anyone they can.
"Todd was waiting for his wife to pass on. She died Monday…natural causes. Todd stopped by to let me know he was moving on. I'll miss him."
"I'll miss him too. Oh, I know I couldn't talk to him like I did when I was a ghost, but he was really cool and I liked you telling me about him."
"He was very fond of you as well. He's the one who helped get you back into your body, Todd and my grandpa Harris."
"I still don't understand how any of that stuff works."
"I don't really understand it either. I suppose we'll figure it out when we're dead."
Some people might find the statement depressing, but my young friend laughs.
"I guess I don't mind waiting for an explanation."
"Me neither. It certainly beats the alternative."
There is a short lull in the conversation, but Elizabeth is never quiet for long. She's sitting on the floor rubbing Billy's stomach, an activity I would get bitten for. I think the damned cat likes her better than me. He's been lonely, the poor sod. I should at least consider getting a second cat. I doubt two cats would be much more trouble than one and he'd have some company while I'm working.
"So, dating anyone yet?"
I scowl at her briefly before I answer. Elizabeth seems far too interested in my love life. It doesn't seem proper. Oh, she's not interested in me herself—we have more of a father and daughter relationship. I expect the girl is worried I'll return to my hermit‑like ways. Not to mention she simply likes to gossip.
"No, not at the moment."
"Well, have you asked anyone out?"
"Not lately, no."
"I haven't met anyone I am interested in. I'm not going to date all and sundry. I hereby promise to ask out the next reasonable single woman I meet. Will that do, or shall we continue with the Inquisition?"
She laughs again, the little brat. "It will do. But what happened to that nice Adale you were dating over the summer?"
"Oh, we tried for a while, but we never really hit it off. She's a very nice woman and the decision was mutual, so there's no need for you to hate her like you do Jessie."
"Hey, it's my job to look out for you, you know. Especially now Todd's gone."
I don't agree it's her job, but I don't argue with her. Elizabeth saved my life during my run‑in with the serial killer. If she wants to think of herself as my champion, who am I to disillusion her?
Elizabeth's sister Mary arrives soon after, and I help the young women switch the bicycle from my car to Mary's. Mary is one of my former students and a nice young woman. Having graduated from the university, she now works as an activities coordinator for one of the local nursing homes. She thanks me for giving Elizabeth a ride and smiles as the girl gives me a quick goodbye hug.
It's strange. Some families would be suspicious and demand I leave their teenager alone, but Elizabeth's family is very accepting of our odd friendship. Don't get me wrong, they gave me the third degree quite thoroughly when we first met. They aren't foolish people. I always treat Elizabeth with respect and I think it's clear to anyone who sees us together.
I also think Elizabeth has told them all about how I lost my wife and have few real friends. They invite me over to dinner a couple of times a month and fuss over me at holidays. I tried to politely decline at first, but Elizabeth's mother is honestly such a pleasant person it became uncomfortable to remain standoffish. I don't mind really. Elizabeth's father ran off with his secretary while Elizabeth was in a coma. People can react strangely to grief, but I still think the man is a right bastard. Now, it's Mom, the girls, and their younger brother, Stanley. I think Mrs. Anderson is pleased her children have an acceptable male role model in their life after what happened with their father.
I can only hope Elizabeth doesn't try to set me up with her mother. Edna is a fine woman, but neither of us seems to have the least interest in each other. That's a good thing, I think. After what happened with her father, it would be difficult for Elizabeth if her mother and I tried to date and it didn't work out. Which it most likely wouldn't. I hear voices in my head. The women in the world who can deal with that fact are few and far between.
The growling of my stomach interrupts my thoughts. I don't really cook much. I heat up a frozen dinner and Billy has some foul‑smelling meaty paste from a can with a cartoon cat on the label. After our uninspiring meal, I sit on the sofa with Billy in my lap as I catch up on one of my literary journals.
I end up going to bed early despite the fact I have no classes tomorrow. It's strange, after the excitement of the summer, one would think I would be happy for my life to get back to normal. I don't seem to be happy about it at all. I'm bored. After my wife died, I spent a decade of my life as a hermit and I was happy as a clam. Now, I'm bored stiff.
Why are clams so damned happy anyway? They are basically snot in a box. What's a box of snot got to be happy about?
I fall asleep and dream of cheerful bivalves. I fight to hold my breath under the water as they click their shells and snicker at me.
I can tell she's there before I open my eyes. A presence lying beside me in the bed. God, I miss this woman.
"Cheryl, good morning." I keep my eyes closed, wanting to pretend she's truly here instead of made from mist and broken promises.
"Bryce. You look good, sweetie."
"I wish I could say the same for you."
She laughs, a sound like squeaky bells. I'd forgotten how annoyingly adorable her laugh was. I would give anything to have her back. It's impossible, I know, but I can't help dreaming.
"There's trouble here in Louisville. I can't quite see it clearly yet, but it's already happening."
Her voice sounds closer and I have the impression she's leaning over me. She doesn't touch me because she can't. Contrary to what you've seen in the horror movies, the dead can't touch the living or move things in the concrete world. They have an affinity for all things electrical, as they are made of electrical energy themselves, but they can't slide your coffee cup across your desk.
"What sort of trouble?"
"I'm not sure. When I try to see it clearly, I only hear children crying. It's something to do with the children. I think they're in danger. You'll keep your eyes peeled, won't you?"
"I will. I'm not certain how much good it will do. I'm not around children much these days."
"Do your best, sweetie, as I know you will."
"Thanks for the warning."
"Anytime, my love. Take care of yourself."
Before I have time to reply in kind, I feel a flare of energy, and my late wife has vanished.
"You too, Cheryl," I murmur to the empty room.
Dragging myself out of bed I make a quick stop in the loo before getting both myself and a prancing teenage cat some breakfast.
During the morning, I work a bit on my latest romance novel. I'm writing a series of historical romances which take place during the westward movement period of American history. My first heroine married her young man and left her confining family in New York to settle in the wilds of Indiana. The book did very well, which pleased both me and my publisher. The second installment has the youngest daughter journeying further to Oklahoma and Indian Territory. I'm only a quarter of the way through it. Writing is slower during the school year than when I take the summer months off.
I knock off when it nears lunchtime. For a change of pace, I actually have plans to leave my house. The St. James Art Fair is going on in Old Louisville and my best friend needs a house warming gift. The Art fair always has a good selection of artists from all over the country. I'm fairly certain I can find something suitable for my mate's new house.
Chase Robinson is twenty years younger than me, almost to the day. I never imagined that, at the age of forty‑eight, my two closest friends would be decades my junior. Chase tells me it's good for me to have young friends who remind me to live my life. I suppose he's correct. I am certainly more social now than I have been in many years.