United Flight 244 from Atlanta to Denver sits on the runway. Delayed. Sept. 16, 2021. My fellow Georgians, clad in SEC college football tribal fan wear, carry on industrial sized bags of Chick-fil-A. Soldiers fresh from basic at Fort Benning dot the cabin. Dustin, from Paducah, Kentucky, sits to my right. He is the same age as the war in Afghanistan, which is now over.

“You hate it too?” the woman to my left asks. Before I can answer, she whispers she has to pee. We clear out as Tracy breezes by in a halter kimono displaying a diamond strand belly button ring.

I’m bound for Wyoming where my wife has an art show at Sheridan College. My flight plans? Catch up on “Ted Lasso.” Watch the NFL. Finish this book on George Custer. Grade. I teach English at a magnet high school in the tony northeast suburbs of metro Atlanta. Previously, I taught refugee high school students at a charter school in Clarkston, Georgia (“The South’s Ellis Island”). My students were from Afghanistan, Burundi, Congo, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Myanmar, Nepal. I left the school, but not the students.