Monday, September 04, 2006


I see you first. Immediately my stomach drops, and I feel short of breath. I’m here with new friends. I’m trying to make some friends… The fear that you’ll sell me out creates a torrent of panic buzzing around my head.

Then, I realize that you are surrounded by your family. Your youngest runs up to you, into my line of sight, and startles me out of my internal horror film. Your wife is adjusting your daughter’s clothing, bending in close to her, whispering things into her little angel face. My tunnel vision relaxes, and I am able to breathe.

You will not sell me out today.

The scene lasts only seconds and it is abundantly clear to me now why bull riders think that 8 seconds is quite a run.

I continue walking with my new friends, head up, feeling confident again. As we approach you, you look up and I recognize in your eyes that same panic, that deer-in-the-headlights freeze.

I half-smile in your direction as I pass, detached, as I would any other stranger in any other public space.

In my periphery, I notice you exhale strongly and turn your attention back to the boy.


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