I was hungry and he knew it; but he was a white man and I felt that if I told him I was hungry I would have been revealing something shameful.
"Boy, I can see hunger in your face and eyes," he said.
"I get enough to eat," I lied.
"Then why do you keep so thin?" he asked me.
"You're just scared, boy," he said.
"Oh, no, sir," I lied again.
I could not look at him. I wanted to leave the counter, yet he was a white man and I had learned not to walk abruptly away from a white man when he was talking to me. I stood, my eyes looking away. He ran his hand into his pocket and pulled out a dollar bill.
"Here, take this dollar and buy yourself some food," he said.
"No, sir," I said.
"Don't be a fool," he said. "You're ashamed to take it. God, boy, don't let a thing like that stop you from taking a dollar and eating."
The more he talked the more it became impossible for me to take the dollar. I wanted it, but I could not look at it. I wanted to speak, but I could not move my tongue. I wanted him to leave me alone. He frightened me.
"Say something," he said.