I was a loser. At least, that’s what I would’ve told you back then.
Twenty-five years old. I sat in a truck, in a parking lot lit by streetlamps. My work clothes were sawdusty. Supper was a sandwich and a warm beer.
I was reading, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” squeezing in chapters before class. You’ve probably read it a hundred times, maybe in high school even.
I had not.
I didn’t attend high school. After my father shot himself, my mother and I worked. I dropped out in the eighth grade.
Yeah, yeah. Poor, pitiful me. So who cares about that.
A little about me:
My name is Sean. I like long walks in the woods, Budweiser, Jalen Hurts, dogs, Will Rogers, farm-raised eggs, Andy Griffith. And I enrolled in community college as a grown man. Like I said, a loser.
So, I was reading Mockingbird in my truck. I liked the book. Not only because of the story, but because of where it happened in Monroe County.
The girl I’d fallen in love with was from Escambia
County—just down the road. This same girl let me into her life. Her people were good to me. They fed me. They made me one of theirs. They told me I was special.
In my life before, I’d generally considered myself a lost kid with very little to offer anyone. Larry the Loser. Girls don’t want anything to do with losers.
Once, at the ripe age of twenty, I asked Lydia Bronson on a date. I arrived at her house in a beat-up truck. She saw my unsightly mount. She suddenly developed yellow fever, strep throat, and scurvy simultaneously.
I was all dressed up with nowhere to go. So, I went to a bowling alley and played solo. I ate a hotdog and tried to forget what a screw-up I was.
A group of high-schoolers was there that night. They were nice-looking,…