In college, my across-the-hall neighbour was a weird skinny girl who changed her hair colour weekly and kept rats as pets. She carried a saint-bernard-eared copy of short stories with her like a purse. Everywhere, I mean. Sometimes we said hello. Sometimes she walked right by me. Once-in-a-while, we talked.

“What’s the fucking point in writing when Alice Munro is still alive, sucking up all the accolades and awards?” she’d once said. Shrugging, I said I’d never heard of her. She scowled and shook her head, and then darted in and kissed me.

She tasted like cloves and cinnamon gum.


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