Truth as revealed in a sandwich, found in a place unexpected. Roadside sub shop franchised, branded, and with all the chips from your boyhood. Stickball special they call it but you know it as the sandwich that meant you were home.
Home. Cheese, ham and capocollo with the usual suspects. And funny how it warms you up, maybe even brings a slight tear to the eye, because of that feeling of home. Nostalgia wasn't on the menu, not a condiment, not a cellophane-wrapped chocolate chip cookie next to the register. No, it was none of those things, and everything.
To find the past you left behind, the days of idle wonder in the summer and stultifying boredom (sometimes) in the school year, the laying on your back in the grass while falling asleep to the drone of airplanes...to find these things and more in between the bites of lettuce and onion, tomato and hot pepper relish, is a minor miracle.
Watching the wine vinegar and the olive oil drip off the bun, running down the heel of your hand you can give thanks that you aren't truly weeping in the fluorescent glare of the sandwich shop. Seeing yourself in the window glass under that dead-making light is a bit of a shock. So much older now. Unknown if you are much wiser.
What you do know as you wash down the last bite of the sandwich with gulps of unsweetened tea is that you were a young lad once. A young lad who only needed a favorite sandwich and a book to know he was home. He is there, you see. In the glass looking back at you and wondering who that fellow is, so near and so far from home.