52 12 17 Wednesday 24 [midnight]
As I was descending the steps in the Inn to go out, about 6:00 this evening a man approached me, poorly dressed and with a box. He quickly smiled and attracted my attention to his box, which he opened, revealing a miasma of small cheap items and laying on top of them was a card with some writing on it which he took out and showed me. It informed me that he was a deaf mute and announced his gifts for sale. I smiled to him, tried to show him I was sorry and shook my head. I wondered what he was going to do upstairs in the Inn.
As I sat at the desk at about 8:30 he walked across the lobby and when I looked up and saw that it was he, he turned his head forward and with such necessity that it pointed slightly upwards and I felt that I had hurt him. For since I had not bought from him and could myself run off as it were and forget about him he might seek strength in showing that he could also forget and do without me.
Suddenly I desired to follow him into the men’s room where he had gone, out of curiosity of seeing what he would do further in my presence, for I could not imagine and it was as if I were to put my foot into something that I wanted to find out how I would fare or what I discovered. Then, I thought, on the other hand, that I would not like to embarrass him as he had just been, for as he just evinced that he did not want to see me, he would be more uncomfortable to have me go in and stand beside him at one of the urinals.
And this gave forth to another curiosity, for since he was obviously an immature or undeveloped man, and he had smiled at me the first time so emptily or readily, I thought this as characteristic of the weakness of those men who were taken to sexual, usually abnormal, pleasures.
But even in this I resolved that I had better not. However, I wanted to find out and went anyway.
I went in and he was standing about a foot away from the urinal, which I thought unusual for he seemed like he was prepared for something. He looked at me apologetically, with a genial smile and seemed to be struggling with himself, and went closer to the stall as I went to the one I stood before. Apparently he was unable to produce himself, and as I looked at him to see what he was doing he apologetically smiled again trying to show the exasperating difficulty he was having.
It was not a few moments before I showed him I was interested in him and he had already pulled back again, seeming as if to play with or work on himself, whatever he wanted to do. In an instant I revealed to him my purpose and proceeded with him, while he stood looking at the base of the door in case one should come.
When it was all over and I had gone back to the desk he went and sat in the lobby. For about an hour the lobby emptied out, until he, reading a magazine, stretched out with his legs apart in solicitation. Mr. Curtis came up and, as he usually does, sat in the lobby and read his paper. The next time I looked at the other he had pulled himself up, held his magazine rolled up in his lap, and pressed his chin against his hand, thinking.
At about ten o’clock he walked up and showing me an advertisement of a delicious looking turkey, he motioned that it would be good to eat, and immediately after asked for a paper and pencil.
“Thank you,” he wrote. “to visit you”
I had no intention of letting him visit me, though I had previously thought that, had he a room, I would go to it with him; but I could not but admit that his thought was a logical procedure from what had happened. Then he wrote, “You are happy and strong.” The words struck me immediately as those Betty had used, especially, “strong” since nobody had ever called me strong, and I had always thought myself weak and deficient as indeed I am compared to some of those men I would like to be who have more normal bodies. But really I can’t complain especially since they have thought it fit and have come to call me ‘Strong.” We wrote some more, but that was all I wanted to say on the incident.