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On My Son's Eighteenth Birthday



Eighteen years ago my son was born.

That Friday night we watched the Braves finish a sweep of the Reds in the NLCS from the hospital.

Two weeks later they won the World Series.

Good Fortune.

I visited my son at his school a few days ago to celebrate his birthday.

It was Friday.

We ate Thai Food.

We opened presents in the park, eating Key Lime Pie under a gray sky near dusk.

We stand up straighter around each other now, since we are both men.

A homeless man wandered up, awkwardly asking for money.

I gave him what I could, an act unworthy of either applause or condemnation.

Today is my son’s birthday, and we all celebrate.

The man thanked us and walked across the park with purpose.

That night, unbeknownst to him, he would be joining our own celebration, if he spent his money on booze or rent or shoes or drugs or a woman or maybe even his own son, he would join with us, celebrating such a day.

Good Fortune.

We packed away our gifts and pie, the spoils of the night…

…a chess set, a bible…

…,as the final stray rays of the slowly dying sun leaked out from under the blanket of gray clouds as it fell toward the horizon, illuminating only the very tops of the buildings around us with an orange-pink luminescence, each of the towers glowing like a burning match atop a cake made for our celebration.

The darkened windows of the buildings burned with the fading sun’s reflection, piercing eyes staring like an October Jack-o-Lantern into a bright and joyous future.

I blinked twice, and it all had passed.

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