“I didn’t agree to this,” Bailey said.
We were standing outside a ea market in Berkeley. And Owen and Bailey
were in a rare stando. He wanted to go in. The only place Bailey wanted to go
“You did agree,” Owen said. “When you agreed to come to San Francisco. So
how about sucking it up?”
“I agreed to get dim sum,” she said.
“And the dim sum was good, wasn’t it?” he said. “I gave you my last pork
bun. As a matter of fact, so did Hannah. That’s two extra pork buns.”
“What’s your point?” she says.
“How about being a good sport and heading inside with us for thirty
minutes or so?”
She turned on her heels and walked into the ea market, ahead of us—the
requisite ten feet ahead of us, so no one would guess we were all together.
She was done negotiating with her father. And, apparently, she was done
celebrating my birthday.
Owen gave me an apologetic shrug. “Welcome to forty,” he said.
“Oh, I’m not forty,” I said. “I’m twenty-one.”
“Oh, that’s right!” He smiled. “Great. Then I have nineteen more chances to
get this right.”
I took his hand, his ngers locking around mine. “Why don’t we just go
home?” I said. “Brunch was so nice. If she’s ready to go home…”
“Owen, I’m just saying, this isn’t a big deal.”
“No, it isn’t a big deal,” he said. “It isn’t a big deal for her to suck it up and
enjoy a lovely ea market. She’ll be ne walking around for a half hour.”
He leaned down to kiss me and we started to head inside. To nd Bailey. We
were just through the front gate when a large man on his way out stopped
walking and called out after Owen.
“No way,” he said.
He was wearing a baseball cap and a matching jersey, stretched out over his
stomach. And he was carrying a lampshade—a yellow, velvet lampshade with the
price tag still on it.
He reached out to hug Owen, the lampshade awkwardly knocking Owen on
“I can’t believe it’s you,” he said. “How long has it been?”
Owen pulled away from him, careful to disentangle himself in a way that
kept the lampshade safe.
“Twenty years? Twenty-ve?” he said. “How does the prom king miss all the
“I hate to tell you, pal, but I think you have the wrong guy,” Owen said. “I’ve
never been king of anything, just ask my wife.”
Owen gestured to me.
And the guy, this stranger, smiled in my direction. “It’s good to meet you,” he
said. “I’m Waylon.”
“Hannah,” I said.
Then he turned back to Owen. “Wait. So you’re telling me that you didn’t go
to Roosevelt? Class of 1994?”
“Nope, I went to Newton High in Massachusetts,” Owen said. “You got the
year right though.”
“Man, you are a dead ringer for this guy I went to school with. I mean the
hair is pretty dierent and he was more jacked than you. No oense. I was more
jacked too, back then.”
Owen shrugged. “We all were.”
“A dead ringer though.” He shook his head. “It’s probably a good thing
you’re not him though. He was kind of a dick.”
Owen laughed. “Take it easy,” he said.
“You too,” Waylon said.
Then he started to walk toward the parking lot. But then he turned back.
“Do you know anyone who went to Roosevelt High in Texas?” he said. “Like
a cousin or something? You’ve got to at least be related.”
Owen smiled, gently. “Sorry, buddy,” he said. “Hate to disappoint you, but
I’m not even close to the right guy.”