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  • We don’t have coffee as often anymore. John can’t walk down Fillmore or back up with two failing hips. Not but once a week, anyway.

    He’s always ready for me though. Sitting in the same seat, his back to the wall. The familiar grin. The deep wrinkles. And the mustache he’s been growing because shaving inside those creases is earning him nicks.

    He’s always ready with the day’s conversation. The topics scrawled across a paper like he’s been annotating a text. Hank Williams. Socialism. His sister Rose. She’s out in Sacramento and a recent widow. The loss of her husband meant room for John. Room might be a stretch. Toleration maybe, for the brother she didn’t have space to love or accept. Not with the choices he made. Or, well, the choice he couldn’t make.

    We don’t choose what we love in this world. If anything, we choose how. I think it must be some combination of surrender and embrace that leads to something lasting. Not having the room is a loss of your own making.

    It took a lot of coffee to get me that far.
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