It isn't that I don't care. I'm just late, again.
I run outside the diner for a minute. Jeanine, my best friend, is leaving me for her sixth grade class. I see Roger – and he's one of mine.
"Roger?" I call. He stops. He's pushing a kid's bike with a wicker laundry basket tied to the frame. He's clean shaven but his hair has a wild and wooly look to it. Salty gray and wiry, it pokes out from under his John Deere ball cap.
"Roger? I haven't seen you all last week. Are you O.K.?" I ask.
"I'm fine Nichelle," he says not quite looking at me. "I'm fine."
"Now – have you eaten today?" I ask.
"Eggy and bacon at the Lutheran's today. It's Wednesday." He says.
I reach out and hold his left wrist. His hands remain firmly on the bike's handlebars. I circle his wrist gently in both my hands.
"You're going to come by the center today – O.K.? I want to see you at the center today." I say.
He seems right enough. It takes more than a chance meeting on the street to know.
"O.K. Nichelle. I like your coffee. You have cream." He pulls off his John Deere cap, but his wooly hair keeps the same shape, like he's wearing an invisible hat.
"Good, I'll see you there," I say. "Gotta go. I'm late."
"Yes!" Roger's face cracks into a wide grin. Pumping his fists, he shouts out to the world, "My boys can still swim!"
He starts to dance around the parking lot. He seemed right enough, but now I'm starting to wonder . . . Did I pick the wrong hobo to father my second child?
Opening: A Snarkling.....Continuation: Anonymous