36 Chicago

Photo by Darius Bashar on Unsplash

As I stand there, I find myself thinking that somewhere down the line both guilt and empathy speak to our own buried sense that an order of some sort is required, not the social order that exists, necessarily, but something more fundamental and more demanding; a sense, further, that one has a stake in this order, a wish that no matter how fluid this order sometimes appears, it will not drain out of the universe. I suspect that these boys will have to search long and hard for that order-indeed, any order that includes them as more than objects of fear or derision. And that suspicion terrifies me, for I now have a place in the world, a job, a schedule to follow. As much as I might tell myself otherwise, we are breaking apart, these boys and me, into different tribes, speaking a different tongue, living by a different code. The engine starts, and the car screeches away. I turn back toward my apartment knowing that I’ve been both stupid and lucky, knowing that I am afraid after all. P.271, October 19, 2021

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