The man walked across the street and picked up a can out of a recycling bin. He placed the can in a plastic bag in his shopping cart. It was dark out. He had a long white beard.
The boy watched the man, peering out the window of the car. He couldn’t have been more than five. He thought the man was Santa Claus.
The man placed the last can in his cart. He turned to his left, and proceeded toward the next bin. In the darkening evening sky, the sound of rain began. The man didn’t raise his hood. He had none.
The car pulled away from the intersection, as the boy’s father increased the pressure on the gas pedal from his right foot. He was in a hurry. He had a business meeting later that night. The boy watched droplets of rain fall on the windows around him. He listened to the pitter patter on the metal frame.
As the boy fell asleep, he thought of the man, and how funny it was that Santa Claus was picking up cans. He wondered why Santa needed cans. He hoped Santa wouldn’t give him cans for Christmas. He wouldn’t like that. He’d rather have a new bicycle.
As the man fell asleep, in his sleeping bag, he thought of his daughter. He hadn’t seen her for four years. He was starting to have trouble remembering her face. He’d lost his picture of her. Her name was Autumn.
Both the boy and the man fell asleep listening to the rain, nature’s beautiful percussion, the boy in his bedroom, the man underneath his overpass. Both thought that this particular night was rather chilly.
The man had one day been a boy. The boy will one day be a man.