by zunguzungu

In the Huntington, WV Starbucks (since the non-chain coffee shop went out of business since I was last in town), I started typing out this conversation as two men, a table away, talk about their businesses that went out of business. They had just met each other, and they recalled how many people were working under them, compared it to losing a child (an analogy both agreed on), and used words like pain and shame with a casualness I found startling. The pain of walking by the building where the gallery used to be. Custom framing was our bread and butter. Importing from Eastern Europe and Russia. Mostly oils. They seem to have just met each other. They talk about leaving the area, that they grew up here, right over the river. California, lotta money, road rage. I’ve got skills. What you graduated in, probably not what you’ll work in. I’m a free lancer. I did Art in college. I do Calligraphy now. I bought out my partners in 98, right after my wife died. At least I lived my dream, my dream of her. I think about leaving. Look at these guys. At the age of 53, not just midlife crisis, a series of events. The pain. You know what? Live the dream. He’ll go before you and he’ll cover you, and he’s not going to leave you. I figure, I hear you, God isn’t going to do sky-writing. I don’t want to play with any more fire. Thank you. What is your name? Nice to meet you too. And so you’re in business? I fly a corporate airplane to Cincinnati. An excuse to go to Cincinnati. We call that the $100 hamburger. My father in law. He was a great guy. My wife’s family still thinks I’m crazy. Crazy is good! I’m not like her. I’m living the dream now. That’s what I always say. I’m retired now. And to be thankful for what I have and what I don’t. And what I used to have. Enjoy your day. Would you still do that with a grandchild? The world’s a small place.