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March 2022


“Another round,” she signed to him across the table, beneath fake lilacs and ivy. It wasn’t yet time to close, but management had started to turn patrons away. “We will be shutting our doors early tonight for an employee appreciation evening. We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause,” the sign at the hostess counter had read. I sat alone in the barroom, contemplating another drink and eyeing the deaf couple at the booth. They were moving as they sat still. “Okay,” he answered her and nodded. My waiter came by. “Can I get you anything else tonight, sir?” He sported black dress clothes and a forced smile. “Just the check.” He departed from my table, just as most every other customer had departed from the restaurant, just as most everybody in my family had departed from belief, just as every American soldier had departed from Afghanistan. A host and…