Wednesday, May 22, 2024

They're all angels


He opened the back of his white van. Inside was a big box that read "Underpants." He slipped a plastic bag with cat food inside, as Lilith stuck her nose his way. "Oh you feed the cemetery cats," I said. "They're angels, they really are," he replied. "All the animals make us happy; they're angels. I'd better be getting back to mine." I ask if he has cats. "Oh yes, cats, dogs, mongooses, pigs. Live near the Hygienic Store." 
I ask if I can take his photo. He wrinkles up his face, mutters something about old fat guy, then smiles, posing. Reaches down to pet Lilith. "It's so sad when they go. Angels."
"Did you say your dog's name is Lily?" I explain that it's short for Lilith. "I know someone with a dog that looks like yours named Lily." That rang a bell. Near the school. In local fashion, we quickly tripped on a connection. His grandchildren live there; their father is Jared; this man was Jared's father-in-law. "I tell Jared, he was my son-in-law, now he's my son." I tell the man that I wrote a book about my walks with Lily, and Jared's the hero. (Let's just say Jared's and my politics rhyme, though his are best expressed in da kine.) His granddaughter sometimes calls to ask for a ride home from school. "But it's across the street!" he tells her. It's clear he gives her one.
He asks my name. Sticks out his hand to shake mine. He's Jay. Jay Kapu. I step back slightly, hold up my hands. "You're sacred!" No, there's a very long story there, he says.

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