It’s early 2011 and I’m at Barnes and Noble, looking for a free table in the coffeeshop. I’ve got my laptop, new back then, not so new now but it’s writing this so. It’s always busy and it’s busy now and I’m not sure I’m going to find one, and I’m dreading heading back home where I’ve promised my new wife some time alone to get some cleaning, reading, etc. done. And then something opens up, someone steps away, and there’s an outlet in the wall. I’m there. My laptop is my reservation.
Then I’m at the counter, looking at the drinks–hot or cold, sweet or bitter, this or that–and I hear on the speakers, barely, over the mannered din, about Ohio, where I lived, where I went to school, where I hoped I’d meet the girl of my dreams. I was carried, we were carried.
And it’s deep, man. It’s deep. The voice, I mean, and also I mean the words.
This is a memory but it’s a memory that will happen again. I am being quiet–no mannered din here, at my house, at 9 o’clock–because I have a baby girl who sleeps fitfully. I didn’t know back then.
Ohio has changed since I was there. It has washed me away completely, and I go back a stranger, but I never go back alone, I bring a life I never anticipated. My blood flows on in my little girl’s veins. My wife smiles and she has claimed my name. I owe money to money to money too, Matt, so I can relate but that’s not the whole story, thank God. Not the end.
Just the beginning of another story. Of another verse. Now I make my own coffee. I sit at my own table. I listen to what I want to listen to. But sometimes I still hear something else in the distance, and I know I’m just not there yet.