Walking down Commercial Drive. Low muttering and footsteps coming up quickly behind me. I turn around—me, short and weighed down by my backpack full of computer and stuff—and look straight up at a tall man close by my elbow. He glares down at me, a young native man in a tan trench coat . “What you lookin’ at?”, he snarls. I look up into his face and say, “well i heard steps coming up behind me ,and I’m…I am looking at you.”
The man seems so taken aback by the fact that I simply answer his question, that the snarling mask slides right off his face. I am startled now, by how suddenly he stops being a menace and turns into a rather sweet-faced young man. He smiles slightly, and looking a little abashed – “oh,” he says. Pauses, then strides past me. A moment later he stops, turns back, and says quietly, “this might be a strange question but, can you give me five dollars for bus fare?” I hesitate, looking into his eyes. No, I can’t do that. He nods and as he turns to keep walking, I say to his retreating back, “but good luck with it.” He turns again and looked at me with soft eyes. “Thanks”, he says, and vanishes on his long legs.