It’s early. I am on the road this morning. I stopped for breakfast at McDonald’s. I know the food’s not good for me, but Egg McMuffins and I have a long history.
There’s a man here with his daughter. They’re in the booth behind me. He talks to her with so much sugar in his voice it’s hard not to smile.
He asks if she had a fun weekend.
She tells him she doesn’t want to leave him and go live with her mother. He tells her she must go. She cries. He holds her.
“Don’t cry,” he says. “We still have weekends together.”
In a nearby booth is a group of Mexican boys. Their voices are happy. Their clothes are filthy.
A jokester in the group attempts a stunt for entertainment value. He leans backward and balances a full cup of coffee on his chin.
This is a bad idea.
A few tables over: a woman. She has a service dog. She doesn’t appear to be blind, but then what do I know?
The dog sits while she eats. A man comes out
of the restroom and pets the dog, but the dog doesn’t even acknowledge him. The animal is all business.
“Pretty dog,” the man says.
The woman answers, “He’s my everything.”
A few kids burst through the doors and stand in line. They are breathless, like they’ve just covered fifty miles on their bikes.
I wish more kids rode to town on bikes.
The man behind me is still talking to his little girl. “Your mother’s here,” he says.
A tall woman walks through the doors. She makes a beeline for the man and daughter. There is no small talk. She’s cool and collected.
They head for the parking lot. The man pops the hatch of an SUV and unloads pink backpacks, roller skates, a scooter, and flower-print luggage. The tall woman shoves things into a minivan.…