|downtown, Lynchburg, VA|
'You owe me money,'
The words crawl across the table and into my lap, work their way up the knots of my spine. Without even looking I know I don't have enough---mentally tally what property I can part with to make up the difference.
At the table by the door, an older couple sits. The man, in a red and blue flannel shirt, runs his finger across the face of his eReader, throwing birds at blocks & pigs. His companion looks over her phone, eyes wide behind her thick glasses. She smiles, crinkling her cheeks, then feigns interest in whatever graces its screen, as she listens.
'I don't have it.'
Behind the counter, the barista fires steam into milk, which lets off a gurgling scream. Two shots of espresso drain into small glasses. Here eyes cut to our table. Away. And back.
'Ok, here. Take this. And this.'
I slide the only things of value I have left across the table. My tormentor grins, admiring for a moment his acquisitions. He raises his cup to his lips, taking a long pull on his drink. It makes a harsh click as it meets the table. A hand wipes a dark drip from his lips. He grins again.
'Cole, it's your turn. Get dad again, like we planned.'
And he does-ganging up to keep me from building monopolies. We laugh at the twists in the game. Payphone by Maroon 5 joins our table from corner speakers and my sons sing along as we lay our cards out-each round-determining winners.
They never need know the possessions sold this morning to afford this moment-gas to work, food on the table-or how easy it was to let them go. We shuffle. Deal. Play again.
Out window, a brown bird dances around the curled legs of a recently emptied metal table, picking at crumbs dropped from a scone or some other pastry. He works the morsel with his beak, taking it into his gullet---looks around, unworried----then is gone
taking the sun's shine, yet leaving the warmth & we play on into the night.
Hope the weekend is going well for everyone. We have had a good one---had a family game night last night---and it worked out each of us had a chance to win. Smiles. And walking around a railroad festival today.
submitted to Theme Thursday.