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T.J.

On the evening of the sixteenth Sunday of the year, old men with ponytails accrete in the Northpark T.J. Maxx: they poke at housewares and wait for everyone else to leave. They wear tweed with leather elbows over sweatpants. When they are alone, they hang up their tweeds.

The ponytailed man behind the counter is also named T.J. (a coincidence). He dims the lights and puts on Natalie Cole. The men partner up, and bow, and begin to dance. Their faces are mournful; their eyes are closed, elsewhere, decades away.

At midnight they’re gone, leaving whiffs of Old Spice and regret.

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