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To fully celebrate his birthday, he throws off his mask of slightly friendly curmudgeon and delights in his new friends. He looks around touched by all who have come to his party and turns to the black lady in the low cut dress next to him saying, “Today I am 63, and I have never had so many people wish me a happy birthday before.” His voice falters, and his eyes grow misty. She nods then looks away and scans the other party guests. An older, red-headed neighbor woman comes by and jokingly sings a verse of a Beatles song to him. The three laugh.

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