Phyllis Williams, Roxbury

Her sisters, she calls them. Not by birth, but Phyllis Williams relies on them for everything in retirement, from family-style dinners to shopping trips. Anything that makes life feel light, she gets from her sisters, sitting down at their shop, Nikki’s Fashions, in Dudley Square.

Below, she describes them:

“I’m from Trinidad and Tobago. Been here. One of my proudest moments right now is leaving men alone. They’re too abusive. I cannot have a relationship, I don’t want a relationship. I’m here with my sisters. We get along well. We all are Caribbean people. We try to stay in our corner—you know, respect is needed and love is shared.

Every day I thank God for another day.  I look at the news, and I be worried—if there’s a killing, or there’s a murder. But I thank God because I have two sisters here- and let me tell you, if it wasn’t for them, we don’t know how we would have made out, because they make me laugh, they make me smile, they make me cry, you know.

They’re not blood, but the way they treat me, it’s so amazing. They call me every morning. They want to know how I doing, if I slept, what’s on my mind, if I’m upset, how is the weather.

I don’t live here, I live in the back of the police station, and I come down here, I spend time with them. We go shopping, we laugh, we cry. That’s good! Because if I stay home, cause I live alone, I get miserable! So I come down to the store, I see all the bums, everybody in Dudley: ‘Hi, how you doing?’

But the love is right here, with my two sisters.”

Nikki’s Fashions is located at 2363 Washington St in Roxbury.

Phyllis was interviewed and photographed by story ambassador Gabbie Follett. The interview was then transcribed and edited for length, clarity and flow by Cara Solomon, founder of Everyday Boston, in partnership with Gabbie. Cara wrote the intro text.