at this moment.

by Michael King

I’m sitting in a coffeehouse. It is a Tuesday, and I am sitting in my feelings.

A former student, a friend, is missing. He is a leader, a guy with an offbeat brand of humor and a knack for thinking from unusual angles, and he was one of the bright lights in my first year of graduate school. He’s a law student, a dweller of Chicago, a person just stepping into the courage of his story. I’m not eulogizing; I have to believe that he’s okay.

There are four armchairs in this coffeehouse. I am in one of them, tucked back in the corner by the wall separating the people from the machines. There is the whistle of a latte being foamed. In the other three chairs are three older people – two men and a woman – who meet here, I am guessing, on a regular basis. They are discussing current events in their lives and the world. Sharp minds in older bodies. One of them just began a sentence, “The first time I got pneumonia…”

A text message from someone I miss. Checking in about the missing student. ‘I would hug you, but distance, ya know.’

Driving soon, across miles of highway in the dark. Preparing to kick off a new semester.

There are so many uncertainties: Where’s this road go? Is it going to be okay? Are we going to be okay? Does the dust ever settle? Are we better for the choices we’re making?

But there are also absolutes, too: Love survives hardship. Our stories matter. We are here, right now. This is it.

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