Have you been drinking?
I don't drink, I lied.
You didn't have a little something
at your brother's? It's the season.
I don't drink.

His light shone in my eyes
after I had trouble nervously getting
my license out of my wallet and
answered yes about the correctness
of the address.

That's a fifty-five zone
where you passed me at seventy.
You sure you haven't been drinking?
Nope. I was humble and apologetic.
Hope grew that he wouldn't write me.

Where was my automatic hostility?
My dislike for authority and profit margins?
I was hurrying home to Sue in my fun,
pepped-up Vanagan, after my
siblings had made me feel welcome.

It was post Christmas. I wore that old
holiday sadness covered by my pushy
arrogance. The realization that I am not
a Renaissance man, not able to do
everything alone, softened me.

I believed him when he said he
didn't want to pull my bloody self out of
the van over the rain soaked road.
Not fun, he said. Put on your seat belt,
don't speed, be safe, he said.

He was maybe twenty-eight twenty-nine
with a nifty mustache, maybe a father
I thought, maybe a couple of years of
college. I drove consciously for
the next seventy miles.

Charles Slater, between Christmas and New Years '04