August 4, 2019:

"Kerook," he says, declaratively, looking at the book I'm reading.

"Care-ooo-ak," I correct him. "French Canadian."

I feel bad that my first instinct is to snicker. You can't blame someone for their initial attempt at an unfamiliar word, especially a foreign one.

Over time it's clear he's not the brightest. But he means well and, very unmistakably, he's deeply damaged. Something in his secret dark past has left him anxious, twitchy, afraid. So that his obvious good intentions and his generous affection feel like small miracles.