expressways, and yet a few years hence he might return and stumble
upon the smothering odor of grilled meat hung up in the windows of
a new restaurant, an old man showing off his few remaining teeth in
a childlike grin as he invites you into a store crammed with bric-a-brac
from previous eras and revolutions, the pleasant sight of a woman
in a pleated skirt holding an umbrella up against the newly nonexistent
Today he is near the river, enjoying the sight of the fresh fruit
stands and herbal medicine shops along the promenade, the boardwalk
under his feet waxy with moisture. Things have changed for the better
- back then there were shacks, garbage heaps, armies of flies. School
is out for the day and the children dart through real and imagined
crowds, inventing whole worlds to battle for. A girl around seven
years old runs smack into his knees and falls to the ground with a
He tips his cap to her. Are you all right? he says.
She stares up at him, squinting. And then her mouth drops into a dumb
You're the Sun Man, she says.
I haven't heard that one, he lies. Actually, he is surprised
that anyone remembers him, let alone recognizes him.
They say you melt when the moon comes out. Like a witch.
I thought witches like the moon, he retorts pleasantly.
She is on her feet and all abashed, her hair twirled about her fingers.