We talk, we shoot the shit. He sees me more than most of my friends do.
He doesn't know me, but he knows about me. He sees guys like me on a daily basis, and he smiles and he's friendly, and he asks questions.
"How's it goin', brother?"
"How's work, you staying busy?"
Questions, because he cares.
"Why the smaller bottle?"
He asks it as I grab my brown paper sack and head towards the door.
"What's that?" I ask.
"You usually get the bigger one. Why small this time?"
He cares. Not about me, never about me, but about my purchase.
I won't tell him about the personal shit. I won't tell him why I've been draining handles of hard liquor like they're bottles of soda. I won't tell him about the taunting shadows and the too-bright mornings. I won't tell him about how I can barely breathe in the shower each morning, because being in that stupid-small space freaks my shit out like you wouldn't believe.
I won't tell him.
He doesn't care.
"Don't worry," I tell him. "I'll be back."
He smiles his caring smile, and says, "All right, big brother, have a good night."