Again, he walks past. It’s become a daily ritual, him and me. Him, old and hobbling across with his cane, stopping at the exact same spot; and me, watching him. He’s a peculiar looking old man, but he has a familiarity to him that I cannot figure out. Today is the same as always. The same brown tweed suit, the same dark wood cane, and the same odd hat. The very first time I saw him I had just ordered my daily black coffee and just happened to look out the window. His hat is what made me stop and stare and yet I find every time I try to describe it, I can’t. It is truly indescribable. I found the coffee at the coffee shop to be good, so I decided to come back the next day and again at the exact same time, I saw the man with the hat. And yet again, I watched him walk by and stop in the same spot and look down. I study him, and he studies whatever it is, and then he goes on, and then I do. Now, I’m not certain how many days it has been since our first encounter. Months definitely, maybe even a year. Today is the same as every day. I have many questions for him, not all involving the hat, but mostly. Today, he is looking down and staring at whatever he is staring at. I should probably tell you though, one day I got very curious as to what it was. After he had left and was long gone, I walked over to see what was so interesting about that spot and looked down and became increasingly disappointed to say the very least. It was a slab of concrete, and it was just like every single slab of concrete for miles down. There wasn’t a stain or a crack or anything special about it. Waking up in a very bold mood, I get up and I decide to go talk to this man with whom I’ve become so accustomed. I look away from the man to cross the street, and I look up, and he’s gone. I run across to wherehe was just standing and look around. He was not anywhere to be found. I walk back across to the coffee shop, utterly stumped. The next day I get up to go talk to him, and again I look to make sure a car isn’t going to cause my untimely death. He disappears again. Now, the day after that I’m determined, no matter what I will not take my eyes off of him. As I’m looking, he is not moving, but suddenly I hear a car honk and look up at an angry man flipping me the bird. Before even looking back at the man, I know he has disappeared. Now, I’m getting angry. Today, I don’t even go into the shop. I wait across the street for him. I see him come back to his spot, and stop. I bolt out of the door, faster than ever before. I finally catch up to him.
“Sir. I don’t want to bother you on this fine day, and I don’t want to sound insane, but I have been watching you every single day for who knows how long, and every single day you stop right here and you look at this slab of concrete in the exact same outfit, and in the exact same peculiar hat. Why do you do this every day?”
The man slowly looks up and me and says, “You must have got the wrong fellow. I’ve only walked down this street just today. I’m not from here,” and then, walks away. Now, I am absolutely furious. I run after him.
“Sir forgive me again, but I have seen you every day for almost a year, walk by with that same suit and that same hat that I don’t understand! Why do you wear that damn hat every day?” He looked at me quizzically.
“Why, I just got this today. My Granddaughter made this for me. I must get going,” and he walks off. I sit and look at the man stumped. Slowly, and almost in a trance like state, I walk back to my coffee spot and buy my usual and leave. The next day and every day after that I go to the coffee shop but never again encounter the man with the hat, leaving me to wonder and ponder, as to what happened to that peculiar man.