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Sunday, May 2, 2010

In the Morning Downtown

It was this morning at six thirty or so that I dreamt that me and my girlfriend, Jenna Fischer, were visiting her house in northern Connecticut or New York or some other place I hadn't been. She put her head beneath my arm and smiled and I did the same and there was no disappointment between us. We must have been together for a while at that point. We were as calm as the snow and soapy water that swept up on the deck below us.

And it wasn't too long after, in the real world, that I scratched a scab on the back of my head from last week and looked at the green floor tile in the room downtown. I read the name tags our teacher had set out and tried to remember what was on them until I realized I was capable of imagining much better.

So he's pacing back and forth in a yellow checkered shirt and khakis that his wife bought, or somebody’s wife bought and tries to justify the court order of a twenty hour class. He tells us all that it’s ok to drink and that, in fact her has, which I can see in the busted veins in his face and the way that the fat on the back of his head and canvas belt breaks my heart every time I look up at him.

He tells us a story (too loud mind you) about how the police drug him home on his daughter’s birthday. This cop was a student of his years before and made the call to take him home instead of prison, which seems like a lucky break. And as he talks about the pressure he feels because his students wanted him to stay and drink at the bar (high school students) I wonder where the story is going. I look to my left and one of two girls in the class, the one who looks guilty and ashamed, looks back at me and grimaces, like someone was always about to punch her. I understand.

The video is on anyway and he moves us to the back of the room and I know about Texas and all the things that are wrong with drunk driving laws. I know all about Jack Hampton and Candice Lightner and the Texas lawyer who won’t cast a shadow. I know about the man who punches something beneath him and wonders how someone could wipe out his family like that.

To end the day the man talks about his friend who asked if he still taught all those drunks. And then he says blah, blah, blah and everyone laughs but I can't because it’s not funny. Instead I hold my breath, rub my head, think about Jenna Fischer and try to wonder about anything. Anything at all.

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