It was just a typical conversation with a stranger. We found ourselves in a university’s rectangular admissions office, two middle age dads’ making small talk, as we waited for our sons to return from a campus tour.
When asked, “Do you have any other kids?” the stranger grew suddenly silent. He took a long, slow sip of coffee.
“I’m not really sure how to answer that question.” He paused again before continuing. “I had another boy, but something happened with social media, and he got blamed for something he didn’t do. He was in a box, and he couldn’t find a way out…”
His voice trailed off, and he began to stare intently at his coffee. He quietly swirled the Styrofoam cup in his hand.
The quiet continued, and the stranger blinked several times, before turning to look out a window. When he turned back, he seemed suddenly renewed.
“It’s a beautiful college, don’t you think?”
“Yes, yes, it is,” he said, “but I prefer Dartmouth. You see, they have a lake.”