Fogel polishes the lenses for her, even though she’s not going to be able to see out of them. The prescription is for an unknown rich person, long deceased. The gold frames were what she fell in love with, the moment she spotted them in Fogel’s junk shop window. She craved them for weeks, and haggled, and finally met Fogel’s price. Carefully she tucks the tissue-wrapped package into her raincoat pocket.

“Don’t rush off,” Fogel says, digging into a musty cardboard carton. He pulls out a paisley shawl, the kind that goes on a piano. “A present.”

“You never gave me anything for free before,” Ivory says. “Maybe you feel guilty because the glasses aren’t worth nine dollars.”

“You, Miss Bright, are a crabby and suspicious individual.”

Ivory looks the shawl over. Two moth holes. And a raveled hem. “At least you’re not feeling very guilty.”

“You don’t like it? Don’t take it.”

“Thank you, Mr. Fogel,” Ivory says, stuffing the shawl into her tote.

In her crepe-soled canvas shoes she lopes along Somerville Avenue, past the Portuguese fish store with the front half of a pink fish in the window—all that remains late in the day on a Friday—and the Continental Unisex Salon. Fogel is wrong, Ivory thinks. She is not a suspicious person, or a crab either. All of her thirty-one years she has been a romantic person, in spite of the fact that, on account of her looks, romance is not a practical hope. She has an asymmetrical face: one hazel eye bigger than the other and the mouth skewed slightly to one side. It’s as though God found two half faces left over at the end of a working day. “Waste not, want not,” He said, clapping them together and fitting the creation out with a pair of pointy elbows and some unruly dark hair He also had lying around.

Once in a library when nobody was looking Ivory made a photocopy of her face, her eyes squeezed shut and her nose flattened against the glass. The photocopy came out looking like the pictures the hospital took of her brother’s kids, Arlene and Diane, when they were newborn. Nobody could fall in love with a face like that.

As she walks Ivory’s hand is in her pocket, touching the eyeglasses. For some reason they feel like gold, even through the tissue paper. She shivers with pleasure. She turns the corner onto Granite and begins to walk uphill on the asphalt sidewalk. Clumps of weeds grow out of the cracks. The houses are triple-deckers, jammed close together, most of them not very well kept up. If you held a competition to pick the Neighborhood Tree, the tree of heaven would have to win by a mile. Nobody planted those trees; they just grew wherever they found a hole in the cement, and they didn’t notice that the soil is practically as hard. The name “tree of heaven” makes Ivory laugh. Granite Street is not exactly heaven, and none of the landlords or tenants try to pretend it is. Except for the Portuguese, who string up colored lights in their alleys and yards with desperate homesick optimism.

Since no teenagers are hanging out in Osgood Park, Ivory stops to have a smoke before going upstairs to fix supper for Diane and Arlene. Calling this place a park is another joke; she hopes that whoever Osgood is, he is dead, so he can’t see how his name is being taken in vain. The park is no more than a house lot, asphalted over and surrounded by a chain-link fence. At one time there were swings, but they were yanked out by vandals, so only the maimed stumps remain. Ivory sits on a bench and drags on her Salem. She sees that somebody has recently spray-painted the asphalt in a weirdly graceful alphabet, like curlicues. Sri Lankan, maybe. Also spelled out in the same blue paint is the word killer.

A squat brown dog comes through the gap in the chain-link and begins to sniff at an empty pizza box.

“Hello, dog,” Ivory says.

He watches without much interest as she crushes the butt under her crepe sole.

“What’s your name, dog?”

He sits on his haunches and scratches his flank with a hind leg.

“Mine is Ivory. Like the soap.”

He opens his mouth in a yawn.

“Yeah, that’s what they all say.”

She drapes the paisley shawl around her shoulder and makes a fat knot over her heart. Then she takes the gold eyeglasses out of her pocket, unwraps them from the tissue paper, and hooks them over her ears. “Pay attention now, dog. Tell me what you think of my new image.”

Blurrily he scratches himself. He bites the itchy spot with his teeth.

“Well, I just thought I’d ask,” she says, folding the eyeglasses and putting them back in her pocket. “What do you think, dog, is it going to rain?”

She hopes so. A hard rain keeps the bottle smashers out of the park, and Friday nights are the worst.