NEWARK

Here’s the scene: You’re in a train station. A train arrives, but it’s not the one you’re waiting for. As you watch a few people come and go, you notice a strange scene in the last car of the train. Only two people are inside–a young man and an older woman. They appear to be having a very animated discussion. The young man is clutching a large box to his chest. The woman is wearing a bizarre hat and holding a large map, which she continues to turn this way and that.

I’m a young man, or at least I am by age, but I don’t feel that way.  I’ve had to move over fifty times in my life, from this place to that, one city to the next, neighborhood to neighborhood, parent to parent. There is a woman in a funny hat sitting in front of me.  She made the mistake of asking me where I was going.  I said, “to east Newark.” She pulls out her map of Vermont and keeps trying to point out Newark.  I kept telling her I wasn’t going to Vermont, but she persists.  “THERE IS A NEWARK IN VERMONT,” she yells. I can’t help but feel sorry for her.  She only wants to help. Poor, senile old woman with a hat that looks like it belongs in a 1950s British wedding.  She wants to feel useful, just like I want to feel wanted.  So I play along.  She wants to help me.  I’ll let her.  “Okay, maybe you’re right, maybe it IS in Vermont.” She pauses. She looks at me like she’s never been validated before, like no one had ever agreed.  She was used to fighting; I could tell. “OOOOOOHHH my oh my oh my, well I just have so much to tell you about my great state of Vermont.” I internally groan.  “We have nature, bushes, hmmm, birds, and this Senator named Bernie Sanders!”

The election. The last thing I wanted was to talk about this bullsh*t election.  But she persisted.  “Bernie Sanders has saved our state from economic collapse,” she says. We begin talking back and forth about the election. “Can Bernie really save us from crippling college debt?” I ask.  She begins outlining the plan for me.  I’m not sure I can believe it.  Our discussion heats up. She spews facts about single-payer healthcare, foreign policy, and breaking up the banks.  I retort with the national debt, Obamacare, and the need for a coalition to fight ISIS.  We’re both democrats, that much I can tell, but this woman is undoubtedly more liberal than I.  She’s a flower child in its purest form.  I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if she conceived a child at Woodstock.  The train rolls to a stop at the Hartford station.  I look out the window and see a man reading a newspaper.  He looks a little lost.  The woman waves out the window at him.  He begins walking on the train, and I can hardly make out his features.  Wearing my glasses is nonessential, usually.  He walks into our train car and sits down.  The woman gives him a tender side-hug and motions him toward me.  I finally start to recognize him in front of me it’s….

“Hi, I’m Bernie, and I am your father.”

 

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