He could have found hostility in ‘good morning’.
Once my sister and I, years ago, took banana bread to his front door. You know, as neighbors do. The neighborly thing.
We rang the doorbell, and waited on the porch. His front window is gigantic, and doesn’t have any curtains. Inside, on the walls, on all four sides of the room are the skulls of dead animals and the antlers of deer. Over the fireplace on the right side of the room, he has a buffalo head. My little sister, seven at the time, stared in some horror at the furry face.
“Is he a cowboy?” she asked.
“I dunno,” I said, somewhat worried at the type of man that would come to the door. “But get behind me.” She obediently shuffled behind me, skinny limbs and bony elbows drawn close to her chest. I gripped the pan of banana bread, planting my feet with all my nine-year-old fervor. We stood there for something like seven minutes, never occurring to us that perhaps he wanted to be left alone. No, our mother had sent us over with banana bread, and we were gonna deliver the banana bread, gosh darn it.
I rang the doorbell again.
An expletive rang from the inside of the house. Suddenly the concrete porch seemed much more menacing. I shuffled backwards, inching Moira from the door.
“What?” an old man yanked the door open and stood, in a bright orange towel. And nothing else.
“Bread!” I screeched.
“Yeah?” His cigar floated around in his mouth, his teeth were brown with tobacco.
“Uh, here.” I shoved the tin pan at him. “Banana bread. For here. You! For you. Here.”
“Huh. Thanks.” He closed the door.
“Bye!” Moira said.
“Let’s go,” I said.
We scurried back to our own house, and slammed the screen door as we pounded into the kitchen, which still smelled of banana bread.