Coach Dan’s Tale 2P

There was still that job, at Maine Central. He looked at his phone, thought about how a simple return call to Colleen would set in motion a chain of events leading to, to . . .

We’re either running towards something, or running from something.

He would be back in Illinois, just north of Chicago. “Don’t you ever miss your hometown?” Katie had asked, several times, never accepting his pat yes, and no response. “You know I’m not a religious man,” he’d explain, “but not having to take vacation days on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, that would be nice.” Then Katie would challenge him — she really was differentshe had an independence, an intellect, a moxie — they probably needed teachers back in Skokie. “That’s not what I want,” he’d reply. “I’d be just another face in the crowd. Not comfortable with that.”

And for years he had been comfortable as a wanderer, never staying in one place too long. Seven years in Bark Bay — nearly twice as long as he’d stayed in any one place since leaving home for college — this wasn’t a coincidence. Fencing had something to do with that, but so had Katie. Bjut Katie was engaged now, to Wayne. Katie would stay in Bark Bay, decorate cakes, start a family, host Thanksgiving for her grandchildren, would die in Bark Bay after a long, happy life. Katie belonged here.

And Dan — he could belong here, should he choose. Many Jews lived in small American towns, as his grandfather would remind him. We are a strong people, Poppa would say, leaning forward for emphasis. We adopt to our surrondings, blending in without losing our identity.

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