I met Isaac’s uncle only once. I showed up at his store on Orchard Street late one afternoon in July with the hope of catching Isaac there but when I arrived his uncle told me Isaac was “out collecting.” I asked if it would be all right for me to wait, and he nodded toward a carton in the back that was piled high with blue jeans wrapped in cellophane.
“It’s all right. Sit. They don’t bite,” he said with a sudden grin. And that was the last thing he said to me. He sat staring out into the street as if he were waiting for something, though from the sad look on his sad face it didn’t seem to matter to him whether or not what he was waiting for would ever . . .
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