His name was Ralph, and I can't for the life of me recall how I met the old man. I don't believe it was in the parking lot. Perhaps it was Zeela. It really is the only thing that makes sense, now.
Somehow, we discovered that we both were kindred spirits, old romantics who loved to read, drink vodka, and even watch Jeopardy in the evenings.
I was sad to see him go. He was somewhere around 60 years old, most likely on the younger side of it. He had a daughter, as I recall, all grown up, with children of her own. We would discuss the books we had read, as we'd sit in front of the television, waiting for the show. I would bring over some vodka, and dole out a couple of shots, or mix a cocktail or two.
One day, we started exchanging books to read. I would read them as quickly as possible, devouring any new information or concept I could get my hands on. Oddly, I don't remember any of the books shared, in either direction, except for the last one he left me.
One day, he told me that he was finally able to retire, and he was moving to the coast. I was quite upset. I had only just made this wonderful new friend.
I woke up one morning to find a package on my doorstep. Ralph had left me one last book to read, Timeline, by Michael Crichton. With it was a note saying that he enjoyed my company, to read the book, and there was no need to return it.
I hurried down to his place, two doors down. Ralph was gone.