He walked with a limp, half dragging the longer leg in an outward oval, bringing it back round to scuff the nearside of his heel. A mark he went over with polish and spit. His laces extended out from the bowknot precisely the same amount on either shoe. On rainy days he left the front door of the tenement with a smile. The sun was too much and it pierced him. The clouds were friends, but most of all he liked the rain. While others ran from it he paced, in measurements, splashing his shoes in the puddles in the wells of the concrete. Glorying in it. Love was not a language he knew, he couldn’t speak and could not understand. Had only been made to feel unsafe by eyes that wouldn’t love him. Most days it broke his heart the world. But not the days of rain, the rainy days of gifts, for splashing through, for arching back one’s neck to meet the rain face-on, to taste it on one’s tongue and listen. The sound of the rain falling to fill the hole that love left empty as an echo.