Tuesday, July 01, 2008

In the gloaming last night, avoiding returning to the heat in my apartment, I wandered down to the dock. I've been hit badly lately with late night restless feet, and those are the times that I always regret deciding not to walk late at night, decided that there's a difference between risking my safety and flaunting my disregard for it. I miss the quiet, and the water lapping against the wooden piles, and the soft sigh of a homeless man as he tosses in his sleep. Helps me sleep.

As I sat there, debating whether or not it was too gross to put my feet in the water, a man walked down the stairs. He looked startled to see me, and marginally homeless, possibly scoping out a place to stretch out later. Hesitating, he put his foot back on the step behind him as if to go, but then shrugged and walked over to the bench.

That was fine with me. I didn't want to talk to anyone, was content making conversation inside my head. As the sun went down the air started to chill, and I stood to leave. I started up the steps just as the man, who I had forgotten, coughed and said, "Hey, ma'am?" I turned and raised an eyebrow, found him standing at the start of the dock, and he smiled dustily. "You dropped something."

It was possible--I could have dropped something from my enormous purse--so I walked back down the stairs and near to him. He leaned over and I flinched, watching his hand flourish in my peripheral vision as he pretended to pull a quarter out of my ear. I have mentioned here before how much people pulling things out of my ear creeps me out, so I shuddered violently, took the quarter, and hurried away. I might have said thanks, but then again, I might not have.

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