Boris was the life of the party but as thin as paint when it mattered. Like when Felicia fell ill. He lasted two weeks after the diagnosis, trying to work out what it was he should be doing for her, then he went on a bender. He finished up at a mates place in another city. It was the sort of thing he did all the time. But this time when he got back there was no one waiting to hear his stories. No one to laugh with him and slap his back.

He took flowers to the hospital. Her sister took them from him. “You can’t see her. I’ll let her know you’re OK.”

That night he counted back the girlfriends, good women many of them, who’d wasted their time on him. Felicia had been one of the best. Suddenly forty seemed far too late to start growing up.

(this is an edited version of the story Bender, published on this day, 2010. See about small stories about love)

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