Down the street, I heard a man singing. Not particularly well, but that seemed beside the point. It sounded earnest. Besides, he was singing a cappella, and that’s difficult.

This is Zack and his dog, Lela (pronounced LEE-la). Zack lives in Durham and he was playing air guitar, strumming invisible strings, listening to music only he could hear.

He loves the theater, and studied it in college. But he made some bad choices in his life, he says, and he served time in jail on failure to appear and domestic violence charges.It was in jail that he says he found God. “I’ve been saved,” he said.

Zack says he bought a tie and a nice shirt for $4 at a thrift store. He wants to look nice, even when he’s panhandling for food and money. He tries to collect $10, $20 a day to help him afford a room.

A woman passed by and smiled: “You look nice today,” she said.

“I have a tie on!” he replied.

Eventually, he says, he’d like to get a job and earn enough money to buy a real guitar. Being a guitarist: That’s his dream.

Lisa Sorg is the editor of the INDY. Her blog documents the small moments of life in the Triangle in photographs and stories—as a reminder to why we live here.