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••• The International Writers Magazine - Our 20th Year: Life Moments

A Prince’s Wedding, a Young Man’s Birthday
• Michael Chacko Daniels
On a sunny day of the coldest February in 70 years, I skirt around sidewalk poop—dogs’ and humans’—as I walk down Pine Street towards the post office.

Chako Daniels

The sides of my eyes en garde check for pedes, dog and human, trolling behind me—left, right, left, right, left, right, left, right, left, right, left—. I intend nothing more drastic than to make space for them to pass and not crowd me. At Larkin, the red traffic light stops me; cars wiz by as if the drivers, after escaping from the gritty Tenderloin neighborhood, are searching for a quick way out of San Francisco. Hands on my hips, I enjoy the sun for a moment, my en garde switched off. Just as I am relaxing in the warm sunshine, indistinct words surprise me from over my left shoulder.

“What?” I say, turning my head, battle ready, and I see a pale young face with a slight brown beard smiling at me. I wonder: What is this smiling pale young man with a slight brown beard trying to say to me? Have I cut off his path to his personal nirvana on this cold, sunny day? The smiling face says, “The day prince . . . married is my birthday!” and I think, Actor Prince? Did that bring the smile to his face?
“What?” I say again, and his smile widens. He says, “The day Prince Williams married is my birthday!” And I think: Did he just say, Prince Williams? Married? Birthday? Why is his smile brighter than the sun on my face? And above all: Why does he think I’m interested in Prince Williams?

“The day Prince Williams married is my birthday!” he says, using the present tense once again, his smile brighter than the sun on my face on this cold day of the coldest February in 70 years. The traffic light turns green. The smiling man walks on, perhaps to share his Good News with others. I head to the post office at a slower pace, an ironic smile lighting up my face as I reflect on how the British royals now rule American hearts and minds, even at the intersection of Pine & Larkin streets in progressive San Francisco. But afterwards, I worry that my unresponsiveness to the young man with a smile brighter than the sun on my face on a cold day of the coldest February in 70 years may have dimmed for the day his happiness over the conjunction of a prince’s wedding with his very own birthday — or even dimmed it forever. I worry for days. Even now as I write.
© Michael Chacko Daniels
mchackod at
July 2019

Grandma and the Old Warrior
Michael Chacko Daniels

Grandma Jacob, dressed in a white cotton sari and blouse, opened the door of her new home on Rural Route 2, South Riverside, on a warm day in 1975 and looked into the blue eyes of the old Polish warrior.
A Salvager for Our Times
Michael Chacko Daniels

I find a youngish man sitting at one of the three yellow, screwed-down plastic chairs, deep in some enterprise that doesn't look all too honest ...

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