it's been fifteen minutes.
a slow and concentrated fifteen minutes.
there he is, he is the one, right over there. he is sitting casually, his hat pulled down over his eyes, which i still have not seen. the hat just barely covers his whole nose, the tip jutting out like a rock on a seashore. his small daughter runs around his feet with a giant bag of cheese doodles. this he ignores. he loosely wears a pair of white-paint-splattered, ripped up and softly faded jeans. when i say he wears them, i really mean it - he's defining the word "worn" sitting there in those jeans. they know him well. his t-shirt is faded also, everything about him pretty faded, personally historical. he tips his hat up and squints at the sun and yes, okay, there are his eyes. both are the color of tree bark, wrinkles hug the outsides of them lovingly. i imagine his home life is a bit like those reality television shows, the kind on channels people flip right by, or else watch distractedly, gaping mouths half open. he's scrappy and disheveled, his beard looking somewhat thrown on. he's the sort of gentleman you just know smokes cigarettes. a lot of cigarettes. his fingernails and knuckles are railroad-track dirty, which is endearing, i think of guitar players and dirt roads. underneath his hat is a sweaty bandana, this is a man that sweats. today is saturday. i'm sitting in a car in front of the laundromat, the outside of which is lined with 70's-furniture-yellow-colored chairs where he temporarily resides. i can just barely hear him from my car, his voice a bear-growl. he strongly suggests the promise of an "ass-whoopin'" to his daughter who responds by lowering her head the tiniest bit.sitting on the chair he leans almost over himself, as if he's going to tell someone a secret, his boots perhaps; which are big and black, respectively. as i pompously assumed he might, he takes out a pack of cigarettes and examines the inside for a moment, choosing one with a careful confidence. he lights it like a cowboy, shielding the wind with his wedding-ring-less hand. we look at each other for a moment. he seems nervous, anxious about something, i think, as he takes his drags, seemingly more in thought now that he's inhaling and exhaling plumes of grey smoke. some monumental things have happened to this man. some monumental things happen to everyone. i want to tell him that it's very possible that everything is or will eventually be very okay but i know i can't, for too many reasons to even begin to think about.
"shit," he says and puts his smoke out on the bottom of his boot. he takes his daughters cheese-doodled fingers in his big hand and leads her to their off-red toyota camry. i smile right before they get in and he grins back at me toothily.
at 1:11 PM