August 21, 2011
He was washing the windows when I came in: a brown stick with big eyes and a ’fro on a ladder, wiping the glass with one hand and continually hiking his pants up with the other. I stood on the sidewalk beneath him for a moment, both of us under the Café Americano awning, which promised “Tropical Food.” I looked up at him and he looked at me, dripping sponge in hand. “Hi,” I said. He worried his lower lip with his upper teeth a bit, and blinked. “Doing the windows,” I said. He blinked again. We stared at each other a moment longer and then I said, “Well, carry on,” and went in.
Eva and Tony, co-owners and newly wed, were at the bar, deliberating over a catalogue. They looked up and sang out hello when I came in.
“Hey,” I said, instead of hi, because that was my style. “You hired somebody to do the windows? ”
“He just showed up,” Eva said. “His name’s Max.”
“Asked if there was anything he could do.”
“We thought the windows could use a wash.” Tony looked to Eva and she nodded to support his assessment.