Of the many questions in the traveller’s mind on that cold night, there was a recurring one that had followed him all the way over the miles and the waters in-between, and its many variants:

“Tell me Traveller, have you got an American girlfriend yet?”

“How are the Yankee girls?”

“I hear the girls over there are quite giving. Shouldn’t you have hit a hot one by now.”

“When will you make an ‘Obama baby?’ It’d better be soon.”

“Be careful, Traveller, but be adventurous. Be very adventurous.”

“Traveller, aren’t you a lucky one, going to America with your tall frame, dark skin and brillant mind?”

“It’s your time, man. Enjoy it.”

etc.

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And they circled his curious, precocious head like a cloud of bubbling mists and mirths. Of the many possible encouraging excuses already stood out the killing Midwestern winter cold, and a certain loneliness that often stares brazenly sometimes from whirlwind tides of testosterone fits. Ride boy, ride. Swim boy, swim. Shoot boy, shoot the hoops again and again with your prized basketballs of fun harmless gamesmanship. Take on the windy evenings with all your righteous rage, long before a final cap at the hot shower that should either temper or scramble the distant mind onto the pleasant edge. Do not go gentle into that good, good night!

His mischievous self only imagines a different body frame, similar to his, as projected forward in an exaggerated swagger, bouncing all around town in faded jeans and a smile, asking whomever catches his fancy: “Hey, do you want a piece of this?”

No, he thinks, now back to his senses, he only stares at a distant bench overlooking the setting sun, and finding them at the moment not any different nor possessing any inspiring light from where he stood, takes in sweetly the sight of the young couple who sat gently pensive, observing the not too silent lake in front of them.

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