He's hunched in the shadows with a book spread open on his palm. It's only a textbook, but he looks like a conjurer.
"I love my job," he says, with a dejected expression.
They've turned the broken corners of the porch into a garden. Missing boards are where flowers nestle now. Plants obscure the splintered railings. A rainbow windsock trails against the chipped paint.
Beneath the stains of black mold, there's a pattern of flowers. On each colorful tile, a different flower: foxglove, pansy, rose.
The blue-gray water and settling clouds swallow the sun.
What do you want to be when you grow up? "A nice man," he says. "I'm going to be a very nice man."
One of her ways of trying to get me to change is to say, "No, you can't be like this." Maybe if she waves her hands in a complicated pattern, the spell will take effect.