Black Beans and Wine

by Alana Fichman

     “You’ve been standing there with your hat and gloves on for forty-five minutes. I’d call that a successful debate.” Sean looks at me, dark brown eyes widen in the typical way they do when he is explaining something. They relax back to their natural state beneath bushy dark brows and settle on my face. Everything Sean does is gentle, except for this conversation.
     He is on his feet now, motioning with his hands, his eyes wide again as he lectures. “I am a man, you shouldn’t be listening to anything I say,” he tells me. His lips are wide and full inserted into a rich and full dark beard. You see his teeth for two reasons: one, a smile of victory, and two, an enormous grin.
     Sean is a trickster like the fables he has prized for the past decade at least. Tricksters don’t always win, they fail and receive compassion from honest people around them. That’s Anansi, and Coyote, and Loki, and all the others. They come from cultures swirled into a vortex of Hollywood propaganda. Sean sits in front of his screen and writes his own. Under cover of a black beanie he writes blog entries and tries to subvert the state of society. Meanwhile, it’s Thursday.
     Sean cooks black beans with bacon fat, olive oil, and wine. He thinks about tomorrow’s pick-up basketball game and the Ninjitsu self-defense class on Saturday. Beneath the Beanie flow locks of dark brown hair nearly shoulder length. They are a hint of the peaceful warrior and meditation expert that Sean is, but they remain covered to the outside world, tied back in a pony tail holder, tucked beneath a black beanie.
It is time to load the airplane and Sean is detained at security. He currently lives in a state that is 98.2% Caucasian and he gets a lot of looks. People treat him differently. People think he is Muslim, they think he’s a terrorist, they think…
     It’s getting late and we have to finish our conversation. Sean wins. “It really is simple,” he says. “Indigenous knowledge. You put a seed in the ground, you put water on it, you wait, and it grows.” The sun has set and it’s getting cold. Sean is still standing, his dark hair pulled back tight in a ponytail, his hands fallen calmly to his sides. His eyes once again are calm and settled, but remain as expressive as before. This time, though, they contain the feel of damp earth beneath bare toes, the sun on a gardeners back, and the hope and patience within a seed.


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