You’re in the drive-thru at Nico’s on Campbell, between Glenn and Fort Lowell, and still buzzing off the reading and launch party for the new book by a local literary star. A book about becoming a man, being a Michigander, and loving a movie from 1987. A movie that featured a pro wrestler nicknamed The Body, and the actor that played Apollo Creed in the Rocky film franchise. You don’t drink much anymore, but after the reading you sat down and had four beers at Casa Video and Film Bar, the last video store in Tucson that, a few years back, decided to get a liquor license to keep its doors open. Humanity may be turning on physical media, but you still can’t download a beer.
The night began with a Prickly Pear Wheat, a local favorite from Borderlands. Then, in honor of a former long-time resident, you indulged in the Tombstone Prickly Pear Gose. A bit much for your taste, but worth it to recognize a real don of Southern Arizona. A sixteen-ounce Sonoran Amber from Dragoon followed, and then, feeling the effects, you slow it down with a five ouncer. Schilling Cider, from Seattle. Specifically, the Emerald City Blackberry Pear, in honor of a current Michigander that grew up in Tacoma. Like the Tombstone selection, a bit much. You luxuriate in an extra glass or two of ice-cold water, and then order a bag of popcorn. Casa Video always had great popcorn, and you could grab it while you looked for a movie to take home. Now, they sell larger bags of it, so you decide to get one for your wife, soon to be your ex, and your daughter.
In the drive-thru, you don’t feel drunk, but you feel remnants of the sensation. You decide to have a taste of the popcorn, so you start to turn the twist-tie. The feeling of your fingertips on the tie and then rubbing on the plastic bag is nearly euphoric. The best smelling popcorn in the history of popcorn. You reach in with your right hand and shovel some well-popped kernels into your mouth, as you creep closer to the speaker and prepare to order your breakfast burrito. Bacon, eggs, potatoes, and cheese. The best in Tucson. You wait in the drive-thru and think about how good it will taste with Nico’s signature red salsa. You think about how your wife told you, just the day before, she started the process to divorce you. Her mind made up. You feel okay, you tell yourself. You can totally envision your life without her as your wife. Then you think about your daughter, nearly twelve, and the days this past summer when it was just the two of you. You, working, and her, bored with summer vacation. And the boys, what about the boys? You think about both of those three-year old terrors. Terrors you can’t imagine your life without. The one (who’s taken to sleeping with you ever since your wife vacated her spot), telling you to come to bed after he’s got his pajamas on. And the other, insisting every night to give you a kiss before going to sleep. You think about the future, and not seeing those three faces every night, but only every other week. You get closer to the drive-thru window, and you can smell the bacon. You visualize taking the lid off the salsa and pouring it into the crevices between the eggs and potatoes. You think that, right now, you’re alright. Right now? You’re okay.