November 2nd, 2018

Spent most of the day at Starbucks, with an interlude at the warehouse club — we are out of everything– then back to Starbucks to wait for my son to get through with his shift at the restaurant two doors down. As much as I am still wistful over his decision to leave college, I love his proximity to home. I beam when he walks into the coffee shop, bandana around his head, the shimmer of sweat on his brow. It’s payday, and he needs to borrow my car to go by the bank and pay bills. He tears open his pay stub and tells me he’s one week shy of 2,000 hours since he started. He’s proud of it, and I am too. I tell him to keep the car for the night once he helps me get the groceries inside. Patrick is exhausted from Halloween socializing and I don’t have any plans to go out, until a girlfriend reminds me I do. 

It’s a beautiful fall afternoon, so I walk the half mile to the restaurant where my boy works, and meet her for happy hour cocktails on the patio that evolve into dinner inside. Little Rock is just a big small town, and this joint is one of its pulse points. Two tables down, the congressional challenger for our district is dining with his family. An employee in the white-hot mayoral campaign joins us for a bit. My girlfriend and I talk about politics and power and our own experiences on the margins of both. It’s the kind of deep conversation I love, the kind I would never take online, where no one seems to converse anymore, only pronounce and posture. Face to face, our stories are our own stories, and no one else gets to decide for us what they mean. 

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