The apartment in my new country contained a scuffed dining table, a stained futon, and one standing lamp. “I’ll find things for you,” the Super said. Over days, an oak bookcase, floral rugs, and Chilean treats his wife baked. In the garden, he beckoned me to a woman walking her dog. “She needs friends too,” he said. Later, she and I laughed away embarrassment in the Parish Café, a dish piled with lemons decorating our table. Later still, we clutched hands in a Jamaica Plain funeral home, the urn holding his ashes too small for a man who built lives.

Author: Donna Luff, 59 years old, Brookline.

Illustration: Deb Putnoi