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"I’ve got a whole stack of books in my cart. Most of them are advance copies. I know a place where they get thrown out."
“How many books have you read?”
“So why are you homeless?”
“I’ve tried to work a job a bunch of times. But then I get sad, and then I get high, and things fall apart.”


One summer I took the bus to and from an apartment I rented in New Haven, CT. I’d transfer buses at the Yale Green. There was a well-read homeless man who would find me sitting on the grass waiting for the bus. He’d sit beside me and start to read aloud. He was a little guy with a deep, soothing voice. He remembered from day-to-day where we left off, would recap briefly, then start reading.

I don’t know that we ever had a conversation, but I love that he did this.

He read me most of Great Expectations, then his girlfriend was arrested. They were gone a long while, someone said he sat outside the prison waiting for her. His girlfriend Chantal was a free spirit, maybe a little crazy. She called me Vergie — thought I looked like the Virgin Mary. I’d be crossing the Green I’d hear her a long way off yelling Vergie! Vergie! Vergie?!I wonder what happened to them.

They borrowed the books from a free book bin behind the local bookstore, then returned them for another.

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