His Morning Jacket

April was always so cruel, signaling soon he’d have to leave his lucky jacket at home. That jacket was his armor, his security blanket. But only teens and punks can get away with leather in the summer. Grown men? No, lest they become “that guy.” But this morning was too brisk to go without.

He quit smoking months ago, but kept a pack all winter. He liked the way a pack balanced that coat, resting in an inside pocket. He’d dropped the habit, but someone might need one, and there he’d be: A Boy Scout on loan from RJ Reynolds.

Hands in pockets, head down, he hiked the three blocks from his apartment to the train station turnstile, then cursed quietly. The monthly pass was sitting on his kitchen table, exiled from his other inside pocket the night before. No pass? No ride? And no ride meant late to work.

Cursing again, he turned and steamed into a curious girl in a battered leather jacket. She wasn’t hurt, was laughing actually, but still he apologized as he offered to help her stand.

“Nice jacket,” she said.

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