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He is a figure I once engaged with for years, amid scenes with nearly religious significance attached to them.

And by chance, this Saturday, I had witnessed him stepping away from a park path and stooping beneath the leaf cover – only to put his hand against the tree trunk.

He smiled when he saw me, but when I reached him he was speechless and sour, and then he proceeded on his way headlong.

If only he had said, ‘You come with me.’

I fell back, stood at a distance.

But let us leave a famous man for a moment.

Two objects, that had been abandoned, surely through some fault of their own, showed up in the border grass.

And detritus is common around here, but these two items were an arousing colour and brand new enough to engage my interest. The clean canvas All Star High Tops were perhaps my size.

And, then, as if this footwear could somehow stay the same while it changed – the shoes showed up as ruined goods. One of the pair had a long rip at the heel.

Well, where I was, is where I often go for the sights, for a walk at day’s end – for deep breaths, or just to listen to the faint clicking – for how my own feet smack at the path.

A boy of five or six was picking up handfuls of nuts that I thought were meant for the squirrels. He was inspecting the ground and most efficiently scavenging, stuffing his pockets, and repeatedly patting his large, jammed pockets.

He’ll be known in later life for his gluttony or for his enterprise.

What am I? – I wonder, dear god – now best known for.

Listen to Diane Williams discuss her stories on the LRB Podcast.

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