“Maya,” he says, “Do you know how old I am?”

“Yes,” she says.  “Twenty-two.”

“I’m quite a bit older than that.”

“Eighty-nine?”

“I’m…” He holds up both of his palms four times and then three fingers.

“Forty-three?”

“Good job.  I’m forty-three.  And in these years I’ve learned that it’s better to have loved and lost and blah blah blah and that it’s better to be alone than be with someone you don’t really fancy.  Do you agree?”

She nods solemnly, and her mouse ears almost fall off.

“Sometimes, though, I’m tired of learning lessons.”

~ from The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry,
by Gabrielle Zevin

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