He wore a green trench coat that made his back itch and his mocha skin moist. The shiny, stiff, green coat flowed down his body like a frozen river, covering him like a green screen, and ended right above his knees. Everyone saw the coat. It was always on Central and Myndylla Drive, from sun up to sun down. He wore it in all seasons, even right now in our triple-digit summer. The coat was a mystery. It became known as the green coat. But the man was also a mystery. Everyone saw the coat, but no one ever saw him. Down until his knees, he was covered by the coat. Where the coat ended, the attention ended. No one knew what he had below his knees. Whether he had on pants, or socks, or shoes. They just stared at the coat.
No one knew what was inside the coat either. There were rumors of a gun for a mass murder he was planning. Some said he had dime bags of weed he would sell to the teenagers that stop by from the high school two blocks away. Some said he kept condoms in there for his sex workers who worked this street at night. Others said he had his wife’s finger inside the coat, with her wedding ring still wrapped around the mocha skin and bones, that he chopped off after he killed her and a man she had an affair with. It was a mystery, but his left hand stayed in the coat pocket by his hip. And you could see movement like he’s caressing something. And I wanted to know. What makes a man stand on the street in a coat in the summer, or at all?
I walked over to him, and I touched the coat. I had to immediately remove my fingers because it felt like a hot stove burner. I looked at his face. His plump lips were sealed shut, his eyes looked forward, and healthy beads of sweat raced down his face like plump raindrops. I think he was scared to move or look at me, because he saw my badge around my neck. Yet, his hand remained in his pocket. I stepped back and tried to examine the outline of the object he caressed in his pocket.
“Sir, what’s in your pocket?” I asked, as I watched his hand intently.
“Nothing dangerous or illegal, officer,” he blurted out, his pocket abruptly pushing his hand out and making his hand drop whatever was in it.
I stared at the ground. It was a few pennies, nickels, and dimes and a picture of him and a woman and a young girl. He didn’t have on the coat in the picture. He had on a large smile, a suit, and tie. He looked happy, clean. Now, he looks worn and tattered in the face. I looked down at his feet, and his foot that was adorned by a dingy sock was being cooled off by a mouth-sized hole at the front of his black sneaker. I looked back up at his face and saw his lips quivering and his eyes watering.
“Why do you wear this coat?” I asked, with sadness building up in my throat like mucus.
“After the fire–”
He began to cry. I placed my hand on his shoulder to comfort him, and ignored the sizzling under my palm.
“It’s all I have left,” he said, with heartache and pain in each syllable.
I pulled him in for a hug.
Thanks for reading! This week’s theme is green, so I decided to write about a green object. Hope you enjoyed it. If you were the man in the coat, what would you do? Be sure to comment your thoughts below!