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  • A borrowed recorder in my hoodie pocket, I work up the courage to approach someone who looks like they've got a while until it's time to start folding. There aren't many folks to choose from on this Tuesday mid-morning. I sit down on a bench next to someone in a black hoodie with tattoos and short hair. I tell her that I just need to practice, she's shy but she says she'll talk to me.

    While the dryers spin in front of us we begin. "Well, what do you want to know?" she looks up to me, awkwardly erect with this new audio tool between us, and back to her hands on her lap. I ask for a story that changed her. "I could tell you about the time I hit rock bottom." Yeah, I'd love to hear that.

    She tells me that she's sober now but she started drinking at twelve, that her family never accepted her for being gay, or drunk, or herself. I ask, "is there anywhere you've felt like you're part of a community? Have you ever found your people?" She tells me that no, she's always felt completely alone.

    And then I see that my recorder is on standby. I press record again.

    I turn the recorder off, thank her, and give her the best hug I've got and walk away.
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