written by: Mark Kodama
I met him at the infusion center. There were dozens of patients receiving their chemotherapy through IVs. He seemed so young in his baseball cap and jeans, perhaps in his 20s. The rest of us were in our fifties or older. He was working on his laptop computer and talking about how he lived in DC but drove to Fairfax to get his treatment.
“It was no trouble,” he laughed. “The traffic is always going the other way.” He lifted his cap and he had no hair. His laugh was infectious.
I’m Ben,” he said.
“Well I am Mark,” I said. “Pleased to meet you.”
“What are you reading?” he asked.
“This is a book on how to write stories,” I said. “I was a newspaper reporter. Now I am winding down my career as a trial lawyer. I thought I might try my hand at being a writer.”
“My girlfriend is a school teacher,” he said. “But I don’t do much reading, except for labels off of beer cans. I’m a beer salesman.”
“It’s all good,” I said.
“I sell a beer called the 21st Amendment,” he said.
“Oh, what an interesting name,” I said. “What is the 21st amendment?”
“It is the repeal of prohibition,” he said.
“Ah,” I said. “I must try this beer. Can I get it at the local supermarket?”
“Of course,” he said.
“I must say you have a great spirit,” I said. “Some of my friends I asked how they are. They always say terrible. We must be optimistic. We must not go gentle into the night.”
“Agreed,” he said. “We must control what we can control. We can certainly control our attitude.”
When he left the nurse asked when he was coming back. He said he would be there the next morning for his infusion. He was so young. Ben the beer salesman.