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  • "I can give you a ride," I called as he stepped from the pool house.


    "A ride," I repeated. "I can take you."

    "Are you serious? Let me just..."

    Mumbling incoherently about entrepreneurship, he ran up to the truck to call in the window. I stood and waited, keys in my hand, smile on my face.

    "I've got a ride," he said. "She's going to take me. Give me 20… No, give me 25."

    The man with the cash handed it over and smiled as me as did the girl with the hat who came to the window.

    "This is my car," I said as we approached the Jeep. "I was running late; otherwise, I would have taken the roof off and it would have been a far cooler ride."

    I'd made a mistake in timing. Saturday was supposed to be my easy day but instead, I found myself running late to almost everything and all of it took longer than expected. Walk to the Tidal Basin. Walk from the Tidal Basin. Walk through the zoo. I covered something close to 15 miles in the morning and spent the afternoon at the pool with my friends, a birthday girl and her cohorts, the cohorts' parents.

    With pizza and cupcakes topped in fat plastic rings showing Hello, Kitty and Justin Bieber's young face, we'd spent the day in the sun. I stayed 'til the end, enjoying the time with my friends (always too short) and waiting to see the girl open the gift I really ought to have wrapped before the walk. Last night. When it came a few days ago. Instead, it made me slightly late to the birthday party, it made me leave the roof on the Jeep.

    "It's OK," he said, unrolling the window. "This is great. Thank you!"

    The smell of oil filled my car as I backed out of the space and headed away from the path home. I wasn't exactly sure where I was going, neither was he, but we'd figure it out. We talked as I drove, of walking, running and dogs, of starting a business and daily operations.

    "This is just a stop sign, right?" I said at a strange intersection. "There's no way for that light to turn any other color."

    Across the road and there we were, at the store, where he was going to shop wearing harem pants, top and scarf in bright primary colors.

    "Do you want me to run in for you?" I laughed. "I don't exactly know what you need..."

    "No. It's fine. I'm actually pretty comfortable like this," he said as he ducked out of the car.

    I circled the lot and came back to scoop him with his two, new bottles of vegetable oil and we drove back toward the pool, talking of food and life. In a couple of short minutes, there we were, back at the truck. He smiled, thanked me and opened the door. Turning back, he stuck out his hand.

    "I'm Peter, by the way."


    "Maybe our paths will cross again someday."

    "Maybe," I smiled and waved as I drove away.
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