This morning I pulled into the Starbucks parking lot, thinking, “Why has that pick-up truck so callously taken my usual parking space?” Next to the truck was a man, early 40s, a permanent ruggedness and film of light grime on him as if he worked in construction or carpentry. He was talking to a teenager, a boy about 17, iPod in his pocket, headphone earpieces dangling from the cuff of his sweater. It wasn’t obvious they were father and son until the man’s hand reached out and held the back of the boy’s head while saying something to him. Then the father pulled the boy close to him and they hugged, each seemingly exerting the same amount of energy and enthusiasm in hugging the other.
I went in to get my coffee, and when I came out, only the boy remained. He was all baggy pants, tousled skater-boy hair; looked like the kind of kid who didn’t communicate much with his parents. But when I came outside and saw him get into his car and drive away, I was struck by the thought, or the hope, because that’s what kind of story I want it to be, that his parents were divorced, that he lived with his mother, and he drove to Starbucks this morning to sneak a visit with his father.