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The writer who left me his novel

Many years ago, when I was a creative writing major, I became friends with another writer from another school over the telephone. I can no longer remember how it happened, but people passed along phone numbers back then.

We spoke a couple of times, then he asked if we could meet. He wanted me to read his life's work: a fantasy novel. I never could write fantasy, though I read some, and I didn't think I would be able to give valuable feedback, but he was insistent, so I said yes.

I can't remember how and where we met, but it would have been at McDonald's Philcoa. I imagine we told ourselves what we color shirt we would be wearing -- no cellphones back then -- and we sat in one of the booths. We must have not talked much, but long enough for him to hand me a brown envelope filled with his work.

I never got around to reading the entire manuscript (it is handwritten, in different notebooks and pads, in poor penmanship) but I still keep it in a special box on my bookshelf.

I wish I could return it, but he didn't write his full name and contact number on the draft and I've forgotten those as well.

I wonder where he is now, and what he does for a living. I wonder, does he still write?

I don't remember anything else about him. It is such a huge blank that we may as well not have met. Except for one thing: I still have the only copy of his first novel.

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