While I was drawing this my attention was drawn to a man two houses down taking clothes out of a duffel bag and then laying them out on the sidewalk.
After a few minutes the man waved and called out to me- ‘I’m looking around for somewhere to wash my clothes.’
The man, who was tall and bald and dressed in a green track suit, black leather jacket and large black work boots then called out again, this time asking me if I could give him something to eat.
‘Have you got anything for me to eat? he called, and I called back no, that I didn’t have anything to eat, but that I would give him 5 dollars.
I took 5 dollars from my bag and held it up and the man crossed the road toward me.
I stood up and handed him the money.
He put the money in his pocket and said thank you.
‘My name is Peter,’ he told me, ‘Peter Green.’
I told him my name and we shook hands.
‘I’m a percussionist,’ he told me, ‘and a drummer. That’s my thing,’
‘Oh, right,’ I said, ‘nice.’
‘My mother has cancer,’ he said, ‘she’s 92 years old and she’s been having chemotherapy,’
I told him that must be very sad, distressing, and then Peter Green asked me where in England I was from.
I lied and said – ‘I’m from near Oxford.’
Then he told me his mother was Welsh.
‘My mother is from Wales and my father is from Jamaica,’ said Peter Green as he rubbed his right hand over and over on the light grey stubble on his head, ‘and I am walking back and forward everyday to my see my mother while she’s getting well.’
He tilted his head to the side.
‘But things are going to get so much better for me,’ he said, ‘and for you too.’
I smiled at Peter Green and said ‘Okay, that would be great for both of us.’
‘Bless you,’ said Peter Green, slowly rubbing his head and waving his hand at me as he crossed the street back to his clothes laid out on the sidewalk, ‘I’ll be looking out for you’.
Today’s Podcast- 99% Invisible- Corpse, Corps, Horse and Worse