I was rushing back from the cafeteria--arms full of food and tummy full of grumbles--when he stopped me in the lobby.
"Miss? Excuse me, miss?"
I wheeled around, impatient, my apple nearly rolling out of my crooked arm.
"Yes?" I said, forcing a smile at the familiar face--one that keeps to himself, quietly knits or naps in the corner. "...Can I help you?"
"I was just wondering--did that other girl get the hat or did you?"
Puzzled, I thought for a moment.
"Oh!" I said, remembering his offer last Saturday of a simple, knitted stocking cap. "You mean this weekend? Nope, Suzie took it home."
"Okay," he said simply.
Then, after rummaging in his overstuffed and overworn backpack, "...well, here."
He thrust a bright orange hat in my direction, knitted just like Suzie's, with extra flaps to cover the ears.
"Thank you!" I said, embarrassing him with my enthusiasm. "Wow! That is so nice! I only wish I could be so crafty! How long does it take you to make one of these?"
"Just about an hour," he said. "It's no big deal."
"Well...thanks again!" I said, beaming.
I took two steps, then turned again.
"I'm sorry," I said apologetically. "I know I should know this, but what is your name, again?"
"Uhh...Joel," he said, startled.
"Hi, Joel. I'm Sara," I said. "It's really nice to meet you."
And it really, truly was.