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May 1, 2007
He is a mess, with his five cats, his cabinet full of medicines and his tattered T-shirts. You can see the entire apartment from the door. There’s only a leaky water bed or the couch layered with cat hair to sit on. And the piano bench.

He’s invited her for dinner, baked chicken and vegetables. When she bites into the broccoli, sand grinds between her teeth. She doesn’t yet know him well enough to conclude whether he’s lazy or just inept. But he can play Beethoven pretty well. So she smiles, swallows the gritty broccoli and waits for the sonata.