He told me that he feels called to be a preacher.
That’s the first thing he said after I said hello.
I didn’t say much after that, just listened, squatting down beside him on the sidewalk outside of the 7/11.
He began listing all of the cities he had been to.
“San Diego. Rochester. New York . . .”
Peeling pieces of newspaper with gnarled hands to put inside his Bible.
“San Francisco. Philadelphia. Wichita. . . and some countries.”
We exchanged names. I looked into his gentle, watery eyes and said goodbye.
When I left, I slipped some money into one of his bags. Our conversation had been more than just a transactional exchange and it felt weird to hand it to him.
Shadowed faces in cars waiting for the stores to open watched me as I walked away.
I looked up at the traces of jet streams and a pale moon hanging like a broken planet in the blue sky.
Keep preaching, Alfred, I thought.