"Listen. Listen," he said to me.
"Please," I answered.
"You got to stop!! You just about the biggest player I've EVER seen hustlin' on the street! You a boss player leadin' the future, man."
I couldn't help laughing at– with– his ebullient rush-roar of enthusiasm. "Naw dude, you know I'm just trying to be like you!"
"Hold up. Hold up." Shaking his head. "No. You... BRINGIN' that beautiful energy like I ain't never seen. I don't even know you but I know, I could tell you's a good kind hearted man with a good soul. Don't never change that, lil' bro. No matter what they say, don't never change that. Unless it's about the money!! I'm just playin'. Really though. You got to keep it just like you been keepin' it cause this is special. Ah wanna extend a happy New Year and best wishes to you and all of your family. What's your name?"
"Nathan. And yours?"
The firm handshake. The manshake, first to solar plexus afterwards, a thing we somehow knew, giving different voice to the same unstoppable seed. Love.
He called it out again, and I heeded his call with the gladness and serious weight I would have ascribed the same command were it to come from the Gods of our ancestors, the artists we trust, the philosophers and sages of old, and I felt all their voices in his, now, a gravelly-throated grinning stranger not much different from myself: