Meeting a Stranger in the Park


In 2020, the virus took over the city. Everyone was depressed and scared. Life was dreary. You couldn’t do things. You couldn’t enjoy life. I hated the lockdown.

Last summer, when the library was still shut down, we could only meet in the park to work on our writing and reading. Each week, we had to find a long bench with space for two people.

One day, we saw a bench with space. A man was at the far end, but there was space for us at the other end. As we approached the bench, I saw the guy just sitting there. He watched us walking toward the bench. He had no expression at all until he noticed my Marvel T-shirt. I saw his reaction: He couldn’t believe his eyes. As we got closer, his eyes glowed with enthusiasm, and his face lit up!

It is a rare T-shirt. No one else has that shirt. It gets a lot of attention whenever I wear it. It has lots of the characters on it—the full cast of Marvel characters. He jumped up to see the shirt better, and he talked a mile a minute. He was thrilled by the shirt, I could tell. His body language said everything. We talked about the different characters; he knew a lot of them. More than I did. He told me different characters’ names, including ones I did not know. He liked the X-Men. I told him which were my favorites. I was excited. It was awesome, our conversation.

I’m glad I wore that T-shirt that day because we could converse about the Marvel characters and the stories we liked. We talked for 10 minutes. Then he left, happy. His face was glowing with excitement, and he was walking with pep. I still remember that day like it was yesterday. I hope to see him again, so we can become friends. It would be great to have a friend with so much experience with Marvel comic books.

That was the best day I had that summer.


Born in Haiti, Mervon Griffith came to New York in 1970. He writes: “Since I have been at the New York Public Library’s Bronx branch, my writing has improved with the help of Lead Instructor Barbara Martinez and tutors Paul Herther and Tito Donovan. I like to write poetry. Paul gave me a rhyming dictionary and a thesaurus; I use them to help me pick the right word. I am proud of my writing.”