Almost every evening, beginning in late April or early May, Isaac sat on the exposed staircase of his apartment and watched the corner of St. Urbain and Bernard gasp to life. The condos around the corner were inhabited by people Isaac might have called yuppies if he didn’t feel so close to becoming a young urban professional himself; they bought organic food at the nearby fruiteries and brought it home in canvas tote bags, talking whip-fast French into their smartphones. There were also people Isaac recognized from school or parties, who passed him by with a wave and walked on in their well-fitted clothes.
“So wistful!” a voice said. “What a vision.”
Isaac looked down the staircase and there was Bronwen, smiling, flashing the gap between her front teeth. Her boyfriend Martin climbed the steps behind her, hoisting a massive, overstuffed armchair.
“Martin,” Isaac said, “what the hell is that?”