He holds a coffee cup out to drivers stopped at the light. Some roll down their windows and give him money or hand him a half-smoked cigarette, a pastry, a bagel, the pinched end of a joint. I see him most days because he works the crossroad at the head of our street. He's slender with a gentle way of moving between cars. He could be a dancer in baggy clothes. How old is he? Maybe 30? He's from St. Vincent. He has thick dreadlocks.
I know his name, but I won't say it here. When we walk by, R calls out Yaar! which is something he does and there's no discussing it. Once the fellow said to me, I don't know that French word. I told him it wasn't French, just something R liked to say. Pirate talk. So he started saying it back.
Last fall I wanted to knit R a hat using up different colours of scrap yarn. I didn't have a pattern and it turned out ENORMOUS. Not a hat to fit the head of anyone I knew. I made another one that fit R, but never threw away the ENORMOUS hat away because because because.
A few days ago R told me the fellow said he really liked the hat. R told him I'd made it. Then I saw him when I was out walking and he said, Oh, how I wish I could have a hat like that, I would be so happy.
Today when I went out for a walk I grabbed the ENORMOUS hat, because I thought that with his head of hair, it would fit. It's not always you get the chance to make someone really happy.
He gave a dance step when he saw me coming down the street, waving the hat. I explained how it was I had an extra hat that was ENORMOUS. Except he couldn't pull it over his head, hard as he tried--and I forgot all about distancing in my efforts to help him tug the hat down. A couple of motorists wondered what was going on and didn't move along when the light changed. I didn't know what to say. He still wanted to keep the hat.
Later, when R was returning from his walk, the fellow yelled, Yaar! She come by but the hat don't fit! R told him his hair was probably warmer.