Dostoevsky in the deli

Thin and angular as an architect’s compass, he stood several feet back from the pastry cases, examining croissants as if ascertaining not their fillings, almond or jam or chocolate, but their very essences, their crescent moods. He wore a black coat and, restless, his thin nose led him through the aisles. Arrays of packaged meats and cheeses clamored before him, but he bought nothing; the aggression of advertising could not touch him, delicate though he was. Or perhaps he just had no money. For whatever reason, he seemed to prefer hunger and observation to satiety and commerce. When I next looked up from the serving line, he had gone.

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