“You like the library?” Senator Knight smiles, watching me take in the room. I don’t have to feign awe in here, the room is beautiful, every journalists dream.

“It’s stunning.” I look up and down the countless rows upon rows of beautifully bound books, spanning at least twenty feet high, if not higher. “It’s absolutely exquisite, such simple classic beauty.”

“Yes, yes, it certainly is. Beautiful.” I turn back to Senator Knight, finding his eyes roaming my face and, for a second, I’m not sure if he’s still talking about the library.

Burying my head in my bag to hide the pink that I feel rise on my face, I take my time to dig out my notepad, paper, and recorder, hoping the heat cools as quickly as it rose. “So, Senator Knight. I was hoping to get some background, set the tone for the story. Show the readers your climb to the top.” I smile, clicking on the recorder in front of me.

“Whatever you want. I’m an open book.”

Sure you are. “You’re originally from Chicago. Did you choose to go to law school locally to be close to your family?”

“Great question. There are a number of reasons why I chose Loyola, but yes, being close to my family was important. Family is at the heart of every success story. There was really never any other choice for me. I attended Loyola undergraduate, and their catholic values just connected with me so strongly. It brought me closer to my faith and family life. So when I was given the opportunity to attend law school there, I jumped at it.” He smiles and winks. “Plus, I met my college sweetheart there.”

Didn’t take long for the good Senator to get his strong family values and religious beliefs in, did it? I get the feeling this man could weave the two into a response to just about any question. Politician oozes from him as soon as the recorder clicks on. Like an actor in front of the camera, he comes to life. Quick, someone hand him a baby to kiss.

“Mrs. Knight earned her degree in early childhood education. Did she teach while you were in Chicago?”

“No, no. She did a lot of volunteer work, but we were married pretty young, and she took on the job of raising our family full time. Not a lot of women are willing to commit to that important job anymore.”

Or men. His comment is sexist, and instantly annoys me, yet I plaster a smile on my face as I respond with words that taste stale as they pass through my lips. “I hope I’m lucky enough to be able to stay home with my family someday.”


Senator Knight sits back in his seat, fanning an arm over the side of the couch, an approving smile on his smug face.

“You were only twenty-eight when you made partner at Kleinman & Dell, that’s impressive, you must have had some celebration.”

Turning to look out the nearby window, I watch a change settle in on his face. His jaw clenches and he takes longer to respond. If I wasn’t digging for a reaction, I probably wouldn’t even notice it, but I do, because I’m watching for even the smallest sign. “Yes, well. I was younger back then.” A few seconds later he turns back, mask back firmly in place.

We spend the next hour talking, but the reality is I could’ve written the story without even coming here. There’s nothing new in what he reveals. Desperate to find more, to dig deeper, I decide to push more on his family.

“You only have one son, Jackson, right?”


I could be imagining it, looking for something that’s not there, but his answer seemed almost too quick.

“I’d love to ask him a few questions, if he would have time? I know Paul was set to photograph him today, but if he’s available for a few questions, I’d really like to get a couple of quotes from him. I’m sure he must be so proud of you and everything you support.”

Smiling, he stands, “I’m sure he will make time for you, Miss Michaels.” Another wink.


Following Senator Knight outside to the sprawling backyard, we find Mrs. Knight being photographed by Paul while she gardens. She’s wearing a sheer white shirt, khaki pants tucked into rubber gardening boots, and her perfectly coifed hair is neatly tied back in a pastel colored scarf. Makeup as perfect as her pose, she’s leaning in and digging a small hole to plant a tomato seedling.

I find the whole scene almost comical. Who gardens in an expensive white shirt and makeup? Even funnier, I parked alongside the gardener’s truck when we pulled into the driveway. But I look up at Senator Knight with my best attempt at awe as he looks on proudly at the fake scene that represents his life.

“Your wife is beautiful.” And plastic.

“Thank you.” He stands taller with the compliment, as if he is actually personally responsible for the praise I’ve just given.

“Come on, let’s go find that son of mine so you can have a few minutes with him.”

Senator Knight leads the way down a brick path to a smaller house that looks like a guest quarters, or perhaps the residence of a live in member of the staff. “Jackson prefers the guest quarters to his mother’s constant doting in the main house. This was their compromise when he decided it was time to move out.” He opens the door without knocking and yells in, “Jackson, I have someone that would like to meet you.”

The house is quiet. The Senator steps inside and looks around while I wait in the doorway. A voice from behind me startles me, “Can I help you with something?”

I jump at the unexpected sound, losing my balance, almost falling backwards as I trip over a pair of running shoes left just inside the door. A strong arm catches me as I teeter. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you. Are you okay?” Using both arms, he steadies me on my feet as I look up to find the face attached to the voice.

Looking into Vinny’s eyes, I freeze, feeling suddenly lightheaded and dizzy. The Senator’s eyes are the same color, yet something was different, gave me hope that maybe the source was really wrong. But the eyes staring back at me instantly shatter almost all the hope I clung to.

My mouth hanging open, I stare at him blankly. I’m unable to tear my eyes away from the familiarity of looking into them, even though he’s a total stranger. Unable to speak, I nod my head.

Still holding me steady, I can see concern on his face, “Are you sure you’re okay?”

Senator Knight interrupts, “Jackson, there you are.” Confused, he turns to me, “Are you okay? You look pale.”

Jackson answers for me. “I just scared her and almost knocked her over.” He smiles at me, revealing a deep creviced dimple. “And I didn’t even get her name yet.”

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