He's Black American, late teens, in spotless oversized black denim and a ski jacket.
"Ey," he responds by default, staring blankly, but then his eyes meet mine, recognizing me, and suddenly he's here. Present. "Hey! How's it goin'?" he says now, getting a little more animated.
"Goin' great, man!" I respond.
"Hey, you think I could get a-"
"Yeah, let's do a trade! None of that 4:30 stuff." That was ages ago. "Fresh off the press right here,"
"Fresh off the press," his buddy behind him repeats.
"Word," his friend affirms.
Then the first young man then stills himself and says with intention: "Appreciation, dogg."
All the posturing and carefully maintained facades are dropped for a moment as the first guy looks at me with complete candor. We've interacted before, he and I, and his eyes have a light in them whenever I see him; I get the sensation that both of us are excited at the experience of making for ourselves an equal plane, of carving out a judgment-free world, if only for a split moment.
All the struggle, the history, the prejudice... like it never happened, just for this one minute.
"Appreciation," he says again.