by Kevin Michaels
It hasn’t always been this way but you can’t remember a time in the past few years when there wasn’t some sort of tension between you, so when he tells the waitress he’s only having coffee you know in that moment that whatever time you have together tonight will be too short. Once he made the commitment to meet, it was a race against the clock – in his mind he has already determined how much time he’ll devote to you; with no crisis looming your allocation of minutes will be brief. Long enough for a cup of coffee, some stories about nothing too important, and vague promises about getting together again, followed by quick good-byes. There are so many things you want to tell him, like how the best times in your life were the days when you walked through the front door, dead tired from a two hour commute out of Penn Station and a job you hated and he and his sisters would scream “Daddy!” at the sound of the key in the front door. How they would race down the hallway and leap into your arms before you could even drop your briefcase on the floor, and how that little boy made you feel special with his own display of love and affection every time he saw you. But that little boy is left only in memories you draw on now to fill the void in your heart where you both used to dance and play together; replaced by a stranger, and a distance you can’t cross.
Kevin Michaels is the author of Broke Down Cowboy. He lives at the Jersey Shore where he is waiting anxiously for winter to end because summers are still to die for (even if you're not a teenager and years past cruising the streets in muscle cars).