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About Bruce

I knew about Bruce way before a neighbour told us he'd died from a stroke, I could tell something was wrong days ago when I was stuck home, laid up in bed with the flu and all I could do to pass the time was watch old movies like Breakfast at Tiffany's; the next afternoon I was feeling less nauseous and ventured out to pull the bills from the mailbox which was when I first noticed the uncharacteristic quiet on our street because every morning on my way out of my driveway and even at high noon during an August scorcher, there'd be old Bruce on his porch, working on a word jumble from a floppy yellow book, wearing that ridiculous large-brimmed baseball cap that let any passers-by know that 36 years ago, he was in the Navy, but Bruce's sports radio was silent, his mug of coffee was missing, and he wasn't there, ready to talk about what a nice day we were having; the next morning, his porch sat empty again, his absence more devastating, you know it sucks because even though my wife and I once caught the old man stealing tomatoes from our garden and even though I once overheard Bruce tell the know-it-all republican that lives down the corner, that despite the fact that we're lesbians we were "nice enough folks", Bruce delivered a present to us a week after we moved in, he'd carefully carved our names from a slab of oak that year, 1996, similar to the one in Mandy and Joe's house and the Davidson's, and the nurse with the golden retriever, the truth is, Bruce's welcome signs will hang in our entryways and above our sinks and in our garages until there's no more of us because our names are all that's left of him.

Story by:

Claudia Ward-de Leon

25 October 2012