As we walked up seventh east, the weather was cold and windy. Two boys stood talking in a crossing street, not worrying about cars because it was little trafficked. I bent my head down to hide the tears welling in my eyes; tears of frustration, fatigue, and a combination of swirled emotions. Jon held my left hand and walked on the outside of the street. To strangers I was visibly upset and in a foul mood; scowling the entire walk had left two red marks above the bridge of my nose.
The boys finished their conversation as Jon and I approached. One headed east, away from us, and the blonde boy with a smile on his face and an unearthly spring in his step walked south towards Jon and me. As he got closer I was in no mood to force a smile, realizing it might look more threatening than inviting.
As we reached the passing point, he bent his knees and body slightly enough to be in view of my purposefully lowered head and gave me a hearty "Hello!!!" with a wave and a beguiling smile. Not a hello that said, "We are strangers passing each other and I am being courteous" or a "Nice day today, isn't it?" This insidious word reeked of oppressive cheerfulness; it said, "Hey there camper!! Don't look like a grouch!! We live in Zion, doncha know?? So cheer up, it ain't that bad!!"
I turned to Jon and whispered, "I almost killed him. I would have punched him in the face."