Yesterday started out storybook. We all slept in. Nobody argued about getting ready to go. We got to the movie a half hour early with few traffic hassles, despite the fact that the theater is smack dab in the middle of Erie’s main shopping district (whose bright idea was that?).

We had great seats because we got there early. The girls sat next to each other and didn’t fight for the entire duration of the movie — not even minor elbow shoving over arm rest real estate.

So, I took them to lunch. Even though I didn’t really want to spend them money.  Even though we had plenty of food at home. Even though I hate fast food. I took them because we were having a great day together.

Until they gave us just one packet of fries. I check the receipt and, sure enough, she only rang one up. I give Kelly a dollar and tell her to go buy another one. She won’t. Of course.

So I give the fries to Kelly and tell Lauren to go and she reluctantly does. As I sit there, sipping my coffee and reading Sports Illustrated, Lauren’s chicken sandwich grows cold. It’s silly for me to make her wait so I go up and take her place in the long line.

Before I can get back to the table, they have spilled my coffee and are screaming at each other in a dining room full of holiday travelers.

I should’ve laughed, because it was a scene from a bad sitcom. I see that now. But, at the time, I was just mortified and embarrassed and mad. Everyone staring. Everyone judging.

Do they know how hard this is? Do they know how hard I try? Do they know how impossible this entire situation is? Do they know how very hard the girls make this?  Do they have any idea what it’s like to stand in my shoes?  Do they know that I have no idea what I’m doing anymore? Do they know that I go to bed every single night vowing to do better the next day? Do they know that everything turns on a dime?

Do they realize that none of this had happened if the girl behind the counter hadn’t shorted us a f@#$ing French fry?

About Just Write
“What ends up revealing itself when free writing is that everything has meaning. That is a magnificent gift of writing. If we write from a free heart-gut place, our souls start speaking.”