On North Grand, following the river, among the brick mercantiles vibrant in the 1920s, was a hardware store with expansive glass fronts displaying goods and a uniformed full-size bear with its paw uplifted. The uniform consisted of striped overalls and a railroad cap, apropos of nothing. Though unmechanized, neverchanging, the paw signified something, some call for response.
Mac felt it, and suppressed it.
In the days, in the light, he did not dare.
But at night the paw beckoned.
Then, he did would not look over his shoulder. He returned the greeting with a mild hand from the wheel uplifted the way country drivers on a dirt road acknowledged one another.
In the day, in light, averted glances. Hundreds of times he passed it in the course of a week, and never failed to actively ignore the bear. This difference in his nature, his willingness to present himself one way to any wayward observer and another way in the absence thereof.
And this was the flower--the childlike birthing of self-consciousness.
Mac, whose guise to the world was heretofore no guise at all. What you saw is what you got.
The dawn of his knowing he had things about himself to keep from others.