I walk through my complex to start my jog several times a week. It’s still dark out, and I begin my run near the big tree across from the leasing office.
In the morning the sky is pretty because I can still see the stars, and I usually spot a constellation or two.
Today, the man was not yet outside smoking. I see him when I go by his home, on the corner where I turn to head down the block to the park. This morning his paper was still in his driveway.
The other day I saw him, having apparently returned from 7-Eleven across the street. He held his bag of groceries, and he flicked on a small flashlight and began reading headlines near his garage door while his paper was still in its wrapper, which I thought was peculiar. He was squinting and trying to make out the words through the plastic.
Most times the man nods when he sees me pass.
He is tall and older and wears a ball cap when he comes out to smoke. With that hat on and his demeanor and style of dress, he looks like he should live in the country and be on a John Deere.
The other morning, when it was chilly, he said, “Beautiful out.” I was running by with my hood on. “I wish it would stay like this,” I replied.
He then stared across the street at the horizon over the buildings, like he often does, as the sky reddened with dawn.