She stared out at the window as I drove. She sat at the front passenger seat beside me, accompanying me to pick Dad. The raindrops pitterpattered across the glass in a light drizzle. I called her name – under my breath at first, just to feel the sound of her name rolling off my tongue. And then I said her name louder, this time to get her attention. She inclined her head, indicating that she heard me. But she didn’t look at me.
She’s a pretty thing, I thought to myself. Her eyes have an almost-feral tint to them; but her heart is sweet. All this time I’ve known her, she has never lost her temper.
At times, she laid her head on the door. Perhaps she was bored of staring outside. Perhaps she just wanted to indulge in the luxury of being driven around. Then after a while, she would perk up and stare out of the window again with avid interest, even though she knew the route as well as I did. As if the world had somehow changed, and there were new things and new wonders to discover. Then again, there are. She knows that better than I do.
When Dad opened the car door, she greeted him enthusiastically. Much more than I did. It was the same with Dad. He greeted her, and then me. No hard feelings there. Of the three of us, she’s the lady. Of the three of us, she’s the most innocent. Of the three of us, she’s the most pure.
It is a short distance from Dad’s bus stop to home. She’s always excited to return home. Even though the car ride was hardly longer than 10 minutes. Like I said, she’s the most pure – ever ready to return home, to rediscover the familiar, to be the prodigal child.
I turned off the engines, and opened the car door. Candy waited until I had gotten out, then jumped out of the car. She trotted to the back of the house to join us for dinner.
We were home.
[Inspired by Mark Ortega’s “The Place“.]