Dacoda Reyes, Untitled / Kevin Flynn, “Beyond Lucky (Thai Palace)”

Untitled, Dacoda Reyes, Watercolor, 2020

Beyond Lucky (Thai Palace)

Kevin Flynn

Needing some dinner ahead of my Wednesday night class, I decide to stop by the local Thai place. The hostess chirps a greeting, and tells me that I can choose any seat. There are a few booths available, so I take one near the window.  

The waitress appears and I place my order. In the adjacent booth, a woman in her 30s and an older man are engaged in conversation. Without any deliberate effort to overhear, I am peripherally included. It seems they’re a father and daughter, talking about their relationship, very personally, but openly, in clear conversational tones.

He says, “It seems to me you’re running a particular narrative regarding me, and what you think are my expectations of you.”  

She replies, “I know that my behavior has been hurtful to you in the past. I don’t want you to feel that you can’t tell me things, or that you’re afraid of hurting my feelings. My life is so much different than before.  

“When I was drinking and drugging, I did a lot of things that were hurtful or damaging without realizing, or even remembering. I mean, I watch movies now, and halfway through I realize, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve seen this already.’  

“With my past life and relationships, even my marriage, there has been so much water under the bridge. There have been situations and places that I’ve had to get away from, because I knew I couldn’t be around them anymore. Now, I’m in a totally different space. Anyhow, I want you to be able to tell me things, and not hold back.” 

The conversation continues along these lines, before winding down to trivialities. 

He says, “Well you’re going to have some leftovers there…Take mine too. I won’t be able to bring them with me on the plane.”   

She replies, “Yeah, this is great. I can take this along to my pet sitting job.”  

As they prepare to leave, he says, “Well, I’m glad to be able to drop in like this – fly in for an overnight, even though I have to head out tomorrow.”     

They pay their check and leave the restaurant on foot. I see them standing at the crosswalk on 7th street. Together, they wait to cross the street. Not talking, just standing, waiting for the traffic to clear.   

As I watch them leave, I have an urge to catch up to them and say something about how lucky they are. Privileged to have what they have. The caring for each other and motivation to work on building communication and understanding. The willingness to be available, to encompass the past and to be there for each other in the present. 

The daughter’s journey, so challenging. Fraught with difficulties and obstacles faced, perhaps with more to come. The present so delicate and precarious, a desert blossom. Still, a beginning. A chance – and each there for the other.   

I want to tell them that they are lucky. Lucky, brave and rare, but that would be an intrusion. An admission that I, a stranger, have been listening. Eavesdropping on their conversation and their lives. 

If I were not constrained, overcome with shyness, I would tell them, “Yes! …This is it!  As hard as it has been, and may yet be, this is it. The greatest, best chance any of us can hope to get. The very best. And  only if we are really, really lucky.” 


Dacoda Reyes is a multimedia illustrator pursuing a Baccalaureate in Secondary Art Education. She hopes to inspire adolescents to pursue disciplinary skills and explore themselves with different art mediums. Reyes’s artwork visualizes late girlhood and emotional solitude with vivid colors and fantasy elements. Aside from a teaching career, Reyes also wants to partake in book illustration. 

Kevin Flynn is an adult-learner at Phoenix College. His work experience has been primarily in the fields of behavioral health and health care administration. An avid reader and amateur musician, he’s a lover of many literary genres and has wide-ranging musical tastes, primarily for jazz and American roots-based forms. His first experiences with creative writing and poetry have been through classes at Phoenix College.

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