fiction by Roberta Israeloff

Learning French

I remember coming home late from school that April afternoon, deliberately dawdling, as my mother would put it, somehow knowing that whatever news awaited me wasn’t good. Walking down the block, I saw my grandparents, Bernie and Birdie, before they saw me; Bernie was bending down to pick up the garbage pail that the careless city trash collectors had thrown onto the lawn and Birdie, her hands on her hips, was telling him how to carry it back to the garage. They made a strange couple: she was tall and portly, he wiry and short,

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