Ron continues his narration. When he tells Deborah about his breakfast date with Denver, she is ecstatic, and they both pray together that God would “show [them] how to reach Denver.” The next morning, Ron picks Denver up and they have breakfast together at a little café, where, painstakingly slowly and without much detail, Denver starts to tell Ron about his life. After a while, Denver looks very seriously at Ron and asks him what his and his wife’s names are. Ron insists that Denver just call them Ron and Deborah, but Denver is firm that he will call them Mr. Ron and Miss Debbie, “translating plantation-style.”
Denver’s insistence on calling them Mr. Ron and Mrs. Debbie seem to be a mark of his time as a slave and his interactions with the Man. Although throughout the story, Ron learns to treat others as truly equal to himself and will someday see Denver as a brother, it is curious that Denver never loses his deferential tone. This seems to suggest that the racial hierarchy of slavery in the South remains with him to some degree for the rest of his life.
Denver finally asks Ron what he wants from him, and Ron tells him that he only wants to be Denver’s friend. With utmost sincerity, Denver responds that he’ll need to give it some thought. As they are driving back to the mission, Denver starts laughing and reveals to Ron that all the homeless honestly believe that Ron and Deborah work for the CIA, which is why they ask so many questions.
In the same way that Ron has made prejudiced assumptions about the homeless—which prove to be untrue—so too do the homeless make such assumptions about Ron and Deborah. This demonstrates that such prejudices are not unique to any one class of people, and can only be overcome and reconciled by real relationships between those who are different from one another.
Ron doesn’t see Denver for another week, but when he spots him on the sidewalk he invites him for a cup of coffee. As they sip their drinks, Denver remarks that he has been thinking about Ron’s request to be his friend. Denver is nervous that Ron will “catch and release him,” abandon him after a time. Denver considers friendship a lifelong commitment, so he will only commit to being Ron’s if it means being friends forever.
Although Ron asked to be Denver’s friend in a comparatively flippant way, Denver considers the notion with great gravity and ponders the implications. This thoughtfulness demonstrates a notable difference between the two characters and turns out to be one of Denver’s greatest character traits.