He’s not the typical customer on the Hill.
No man bun, no plaid flannel shirt. No shorts, hiking boots and “bro” tank for him. His hair is naturally gray, his mustache neatly trimmed.
He’s probably seen about seven decades on this earth, and each one has written a story on his face, in the lines on his hands. These stories whisper through the twinkle in his eye.
It’s a twinkle tempered with a touch a melancholia. I don’t know what he’s lost recently, but I feel the emptiness as we talk. He seems lonely, resigned.
He’s kind, sweet and polite. He wants just one small scoop of ice cream, he tells me, as he shifts his unwieldy bag of groceries.
He pays, asks for a glass of water. I gladly oblige.
Thirty minutes later, a mere breath in the span of his years here on Earth, he gets up to leave. He thanks me for the water and the delicious “gelato”, which he pronounces with an Italian of a flair as he can muster.
I don’t know his name. I don’t know if I’ll see him again.
But his untold story stays with me; the human connection contained in a transaction of an ice cream cone and a glass of water.