My brother and I went out to a basketball game last night. We had a good time, but my wife called when the game was ending. She and my sister-in-law were coming home last night when they saw that most fearful sight to black people everywhere: a burning cross. It was in a field on the side of a fairly busy state highway. I do find this rather distressing, frankly. Now that I'm a family man, especially, I have to be very concerned about safety. I have people who I have pledged to defend.

The curious thing about this, or at least it would be curious to a lot of the people who make fun of my home state, is that I never saw such a thing in Mississippi during all my years of living there. And now I see it, in metropolitan Atlanta, the city too busy to hate. Now, I am not the one to extrapolate this incident into some vast infestation of racists, but, even one, who is actively attempting action near my home, is enough to give me pause, not unlike having a convicted child molester in the area. So far, I have not seen any reports of this event on any of the local sources. That, too is somewhat distressing, because if they had not actually seen the event, they would not have known. It makes me wonder if this sort of thing isn't somewhat more common than I might believe.

The vending-machine cappuccino was burning my hands through the flimsy paper cup. I held the door anyway, because she was cute. A petite redhead with witty political buttons on her messenger bag – who could have resisted her?

"I’m Kate," I said, as the elevator opened. "What floor?"

"Téa," she said, shifting the large, awkward box to her hip and shaking my hand. "Fifth. Glad I don’t have to take the stairs."

"I’m on fifth, too," I said as I pushed the button, "majoring in Sculpture and Physics. How about you?"

"International Studies. How’d you end up on the Culture Hall?"

"I was an exchange student in high school. I’m interested in linguistics, too, but I couldn’t triple-major. I think the real problem is that I don’t actually know what I want to do with my life."

This isn't really how it happened; how I met her. I don't actually remember meeting her, though it may as well have happened like this. I tried to write a novel, or at least a short story, about how I fell in love with her, we almost dated, she got sick, moved away and back, and became my best friend. This is as far as I got; a made-up scene where we meet. I'm still in love with her, and I now know that she isn't a real redhead.

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