I guess it's been a year now since he first climbed the back stairs and wandered through the store to find me in the front. He must be about 6'11" or so and his arm span,well,as he stands at the top of the stairs, he can hold himself between what used to be a large double door opening, palms flat on the wall. He is drunk. The walls keep him from falling down the stairs to meet me.
He's from Nigeria. He's Catholic. He laughs or smiles most of the time he speaks to me. He's young and he has no place to settle in to...he's lost. We take him to get him some food but he tells us point blank that he'd rather have something to drink. He laughs with me.
He came by a couple of months ago and as I caught him down front, I noticed his nice leather shoes were untied. I walked down and spoke to him and then knelt to tie his shoes. He got right down on his knees with me and kept trying to duck his head lower than mine. My thought was that he did not want me "lower than him". May be something cultural.
This week I was cleaning around the office and came upon a few rosaries that needed taken to the front, 2 in boxes and 1 just clenched in my right hand. As I came down the stairs, I was greeted by the lost boy. "Mom! I need a rosary!" The smile peeled across his face, proud he didn't ask me for money. I opened my right hand and poured the rosary into his over-sized palm. "Thank you mom!" "The rosary has roses on the beads." "Yes mom, roses. Thank you."
My daughter and I were left alone. She said there was a Dominican sister upstairs he must have caught a glimpse of because at one point the lost boy looked up the stairs and said, "Sister Theresa." "Sister Theresa or St. Theresa? I handed him a St. Theresa rosary with the rose petals that I just happened to be bringing down to put back in stock." We just stared at one another.
That lost boy. He's always bringing some sort of happiness, some sort of joy. I never see him wandering the streets like the other guys. Once in a while, he just comes through the back door and finds me down front.