Cracking up in a self-contained fit of raspy laughter, Juan’s eyes flitted to and fro, seeking his public out. His left hand clasped around a bushel of lavandin, he inhaled deeply, filling his lungs with its scent. A hardcore herbal head. Check your pockets. 5 foot nothing and bright eyed he chatted amicably away, bursting every so often into a fit of straight backed laughter before clamping the bushel to his nose once more. SNIFF. WHEEZE. Making no distinction between french and spanish, he told us about his life, a labourer by trade. We squeezed his proferred bicep to be sure of the facts. His weathered skin told a different story. A tale of sun spots and back ache.
Formalities over, he unleashed a barrage of crass jokes, delighted to have an eager audience. His dentures rattled against his molars, shaking as he chortled to himself. Half understanding his linguistic soup we translated among ourselves before cracking up in turn.
We bade Juan goodnight as the first drops of rain fell. He bid us off in turn, asking us our names and repeating them twice. He gingerly planted a kiss on the ladies cheeks. For the rest he planted a firm hand on the shoulder before clamping the right hand in a hearty vice. Knuckles cracked.