Richie is not what you’d call an introspective guy. All life long he’s been bouncing from one moment to the next without much of a game plan. In his youth, he attracted trouble like lightning to a mountaintop. The one activity that holds his focus is pool. He’s not great at it, but he is a dedicated player. His favorite place is Al’s. Sitting hard by the train yards, it is a classic smoke filled dump. When a very pregnant girl waddled in and took to watching him day after day, Richie took note. Beyond her swollen belly, something about the arc of her eyebrows caught his breath, reminding him so strongly of his Mom that he had to look away. A few days into her routine of studying him like he was the phone book, Richie broke the ice. Turns out she had heard about him through friends of friends and was interested. That was the extent of her explanation. Her smile was friendly, warm, as she introduced herself, Amelia. With the weather warming up, Richie escorted Amelia, who by now was a regular, outside so that they could chat. Just as pool claimed Richie’s attention, Amelia was caught in the web of random letters that is Scrabble. Amelia brought along her travel Scrabble board and the two would swap words, stories and events in their lives. The obvious question that Richie was too fearful to pose, who is she to me, hung in the air between them like dark smoke. When Amelia’s water broke, Richie held his daughter’s hand as she called her midwife. Despite the gravity of the moment, there was right before him, ripe for the plucking, an open triple letter spot within spitting distance.