The Gathering at the Church Street Brewery by Christopher K. Horne
Carlton awakens, alone, for the first time in forty-one years. His tears, quietly rolling down his cheek, are reflected in the framed glass protecting his bedside picture of Dot and their two grown children.
For a man of fifty-three who’s been divorced three times, the professor has, in his mind, solved the problem of lust quite well.
“I told you to keep quiet,” older brother Petey says. “We can sneak under the porch, then when she falls asleep, run off to the store.”
The Church Street Brewery is located in the center of Uptown in High Point, a former furniture factory, is surrounded by several dozen folks sitting or standing on the outdoor patio. Some sit like Rae and some stand like Professor David. A reserved Nadia talks with her college friend, Yuan, a twenty-something Chinese-born student. Some men, like the seventy-something Jim, a pillar of the community, float around the patio with a glass of chardonnay in hand. The reserved Carlton is a seventy-one-year-old widower, looking for love again. On sunny days, a cancer survivor, Debra, strokes paint across a canvas. Next to Debra is Katherine, a forty-something, single, political operative. Then, one fall Wednesday evening, all these characters strangely meet, converse, and warm their bodies from the patio firepit. Some drink, and some just talk. Some are kind, and some are rude. At least one person’s life is changed in a moment that Wednesday night.
Christopher K. Horne was born and raised in the urban street scene of High Point, North Carolina. He has traveled or worked in more than thirteen countries including the Brazil, Oman and Japan. He teaches at North Carolina A&T State University where the writer received his inspiration. Horne is also the author of the novel, Shattered Dreams at Rainbow’s End, published by Outskirts Press.