I stood in my front garden Wednesday morning looking across the street. A small blue truck occupied by a man and a woman had pulled into Mr. Bloom's driveway around nine o'clock. I naturally thought they had come to check if Mr. Bloom were still alive, had not fallen and broken anything, and was not laying in a puddle of urine for forty-eight hours or more like last time. But instead of going inside, the woman ate a breakfast of eggs, bacon, and biscuits on a blue plate balanced on the passenger-side rim of the truck bed. She had one foot propped on the back bumper of the truck. The man in the cab looked at a map for details of the countryside surrounding Dallas. When she had finished her breakfast, she walked across Mr. Bloom's lawn and turned on the sprinkler at the faucet. The grass became watered as she walked back to the truck and got in. A cat with a clock on its stomach slowly walked through the grass. The truck backed out the driveway and drove off to the north.

I stood in my front garden among the nandinas, chrysanthemums, begonias, and impatiens - all flowers that I cannot spell. Above me stretched an old American elm tree - one of the last of its kind. People from the university came out to study it, poked at it, and stepped on my flowers and grass. They came in groups and looked at several other trees in the neighborhood. They must really like trees! They must be friends with many botanists, horticulturists, and librarians. My sprinkler turned on automatically around noon to keep things cool on that hot day. Despite all this, I stood my ground and watched the watering of Mr. Bloom's grass amidst the neighborhood sounds of lawnmowers and passing ice cream trucks.

The couple returned around six o'clock in their blue truck, looking as if they had had a very nice day. They parked in front of my house at the end of my front walk. The woman rolled down her window to address me. I could tell that they had gotten a lot of sunshine wherever they had gone. With her hand the woman waved a brown fedora hat and asked if she could put it on me. I agreed as she was getting out of the car and heading toward me. She placed the hat on my head. It was an alright fit - not too small. I went back to the truck with her. All three of us gave a hearty laugh and I got into the cab with them. That night we drove out Preston Road toward Oklahoma until we could see lights no longer. We all three slept in the bed of the truck, the woman in the middle. Friends forever.



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