i found him searching through garbage. i followed him for a while, watching. what was he looking for. a mother with a kid, the kid pushing a bicycle, passed. he watched them pass, staring roundeyed, all the way down the street..

so i went up to him and asked him, what. what, i said, why are you looking through the garbage. a toy, he said. i'd like to find a toy. he was looking to see if he could find something. he had found two plastic boxes and he had them cradled in his arms.

he was such a little kid, and someone had done a real bad job of shaving his head. it was full of nicks. he was wearing nothing but a grownoutof pair of pants. barefoot. how old are you, i said. he said, five years.

so i said, well, i have a really good idea. why don't we go buy you a toy then, i said. what would you like. a bicycle, he said.i don't think i can afford that, i said, so lets try for something else.

i had seen a toystore on my walkabout, so off we went to find it. down a steep street. here? he said, is this the toystore? he peeked in a door. grocery store, i said, the toystore is further on. so he took my hand and we kept walking. he kept looking in store doors.

three blocks later we found the toystore. he turned round and around in the middle. oh, he said, oh. a kid's mother was buying a waterpistol. one of those, he said, can i have one of those. one of those, i said to the salesgirl, and could you please put some water in it. but you can have something else too, i said to the kid. can i have an airplane, he said. an airplane, i said to the sales girl. no airplanes, she said. okay then, i said to the kid, lets look around for something else. he said, can i have a kittycat, looking at some stuffed toys. sure, i said, but hey, i see some neat trucks over here. oh, he said, oh. the big red one, he said, the big red one!

so we bought the big red truck and the water pistol. then we sat on a curb and we played a bit. he sprayed me with the pistol and then i sprayed him with the pistol. he giggled.

you hungry? i said. thirsty? let's go buy a cocacola. so we went into a place, sat at a table with two cokes. a cake he said, can i have a cake. so we had the cake too, sitting at the table.

he ate half the cake. we wrapped up the rest and put it in the truck. the truck now had the waterpistol and the halfcake.

there was a fruitstand outside. he pointed to something, he said i need one of those. what, i said. i didn't understand what he said. a banana? i said, lets have the banana too, and those cookies. he took them and he put those in the redtruck too. then he pointed again, i need one of those. what? what? the fruitstand lady said, he wants a plastic bag, that will be 2000 lei for one of those. about a dime.

he took the bag and then carefully stuffed the red truck with the pistol, the halfcake, the banana and the cookies in it. i'm kinda lost around here, he said, how do i get back. so then we walked back the same way we came. walked up the steep street.

he said, brother, brother, little sister, mommy. he said their names but that doesn't matter here. brother, brother, sister mommy, hugging the stuffedfull plastic bag. this way, he said, this way, hurrying now.

we got to the top of the street. we have to say goodbye now, i said. my train is leaving in a halfhour. okay he said, we will say goodbye now. goodbye goodbye, waving. then running off, hugging the bag to his chest, goodbye goodbye.