at the bar with lamar

We saddled up to the bar, my girlfriend Lucretia and I, and talked about Hillary and Bernie and their possible running mates and about how we wish we had a crystal ball. I touched her wavy hair, noticing how silvery it had become since I’d last seen her, and told her how beautiful it looked. Her eyes were bright and smiling and I draped my arm around her for a spell, happy to be out with my dear friend again.

We dined on Asian slaw with peanuts and hot Kung Pao chicken dumplings. Lucretia sipped on a Manhattan, a house-cured maraschino cherry nestled in the bottom of the glass, and I on a Pinot Noir. I’d gotten a jump start on her, having had two fingers of bourbon at Woody’s house before she arrived to pick me up, so I was giddy and happy to be out on the town.

Partway through our meal I leaned over and nosily asked the man in the seat to my left what he had just been served. He said the dish was scallops and potatoes. The three of us got to talking, first about the food—was it scalloped potatoes or scallops and potatoes? We told stories of where we all grew up, and I remarked on his sharp plaid button-down shirt and smart jeans, which got me to talking about my time at Levi’s, which segued into discussing his new job in human resources. We wondered where he’d traveled from, and if he was going to live nearby. I asked him his name and as he put out a strong hand to shake ours he told us, “Lamar.”

It was Lamar’s first night in town, having traveled from Detroit to work a week out of every month at a plant just up the road. He asked Lucretia and I how we spend our days, so Lucretia described the time on her farm and I shared about my writing and my boy. When I mentioned Calvin’s epilepsy, Lamar told us his thirty-year-old brother has epilepsy, and he asked how long Calvin has been having seizures. I said, “Since he was two.” I openly lamented knowing that Lamar had probably grown up taking care of his little brother. He nodded his head and bowed so I touched his leg lightly in accord.

For well over an hour Lucretia and I visited with Lamar, who is handsome and young, tall and lean, with a closely shaved head and nice brown skin. He told us of a recent break up and, in solidarity with our new friend, we agreed it was probably the right thing. We laughed and joked about this and that and vowed to gather again the next time he’s in town. As we parted we all gave each other hugs as if we'd been old friends, then Lamar said joyfully of our meeting, “This happened for a reason!” I replied that I didn’t believe in that notion and said I’d explain sometime.

When Lucretia dropped me off we embraced. Inside, Michael and his friend Matt were sitting in front of a rolling fire, Nellie at their side. We chatted for a bit before I kissed Michael, hugged Matt and said goodnight.

Sleep was sound until four o'clock when Calvin started into a grand mal, just five days since the last. In the seizure's wake I syringed in his benzodiazepine, hoping to thwart any more.

Lying there next to my boy while he shivered and shook, I felt a little headache coming on and then remembered why. But, knowing that earlier I'd met a new friend named Lamar, made me feel a little better somehow.

Photo http://poco-cocoa.com

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