24 January 2011

Coming Out of The Cold and Leaving

I can't stop thinking about him.

OK, this isn't going where you think it's going!  

The other morning, when I was doing my laundry, I saw him.  He was riding a department-store mountain bike in the snow that had fallen through the night.  If he wasn't homeless, he looked like he was less than a paycheck away from it.  Or, if I want to be more charitable or simply literary, I could say that he looks like a grizzly bear that just came out of detox.

Wherever he doesn't go on his bike, he walks.  He doesn't even take the subway or bus, he told me. I believe him:  I've seen him around the neighborhood before, but I'd never talked with him until the other day.

He asked me whether it would be OK to put his shoes in one of the dryers.  I don't work there, I explained, so I don't make the rules.  And, I told him, I didn't think the person in charge was anywhere in sight. 

So he put his shoes--more like sneakers, really--in one of the floor-level dryers.  And when it heated up, he propped his feet against the door.  "Can't get frostbite," he explained.

After I loaded one of the other dryers, I went around the corner for a cup of tea.  I offered to bring one back for him--or a hot chocolate, coffee, or whatever else he wanted.  "Oh, no thank you, Miss.  You're too kind."

When I returned to the laundromat, he and his bike were gone.

1 comment:

  1. He probably won't forget himself how he came across a great nonjudgmental dame who even offered to bring him back a cup of hot beverage. Great story.