Old Wounds in Stanfield
Cliff was filling up a well used Big Gulp when we ran into him. He had more miles on him than his grey truck parked in the Circle K parking lot. He was reticent at first, or answered most of my questions with a sort of inflated machismo. A few minutes in, he started to open up a bit.
"I grew up running around in my mama's bar, all us kids did. She was a single parent, did the best she could to bring us all up." Cliff talked hesitantly about his early life as though prying open an old box that'd rusted shut.
Cliff's America is hard. He says America is just "a place where you struggle, you try to survive and get by." When I asked him about freedom he scoffed a bit, "Freedom is being able to do whatever without anyone telling you different. But I don't have freedom anymore. I don't get to be free now that I'm out of jail. You always have someone telling you what you can do and how you can be now. Can't even walk down the street with a knife, I'd get pulled over and put in jail without ever doing something wrong."
Cliff peeled out of the parking lot abruptly after we finished talking about his family. I can't help but feel there was a bit too much on display for Cliff to feel comfortable anymore and he took off.