Friday, June 19, 2009

Newspaper Man

For the last year I have been passing the Newspaper Man on the way to work in the morning. He stands at the entrance to the subway, and on sunny days he sets up shop at the top of the stairs near the racket of the bus stop. On rainy days he displays his papers-- The Daily News, The New York Times-- far enough removed from the double doors to keep the papers safe from encroaching puddles. When we first met, he would look at me shyly, then quickly glance away without uttering a word. But he is there every morning, and it seemed unfriendly not to say hi to each other. Throughout the year (cold, unending winter-- he was still there), we exchanged quick hellos, nothing more. His voice is soft, accented with Africa. This morning, after weeks of rain and humidity, the air was thinner, the mood lighter. Spontaneously he said, "Good morning, how are you?" I felt a little triumph-- previously I had been the one initiating the hellos.

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