This weekend was one of those weekends that I'd just like to erase from history. It never happened. Everything is perfect, my family is a happy little nucleus within this great big cell of a house, and we are all safe and loved well.
The opposite of that never happened. Not even for a second. Erase. Undo.
By now it's probably no secret that I am a woman completely dominated by her emotions, and the emotions of others. Naturally, therefore, I spent the bulk of my shitty weekend frazzled and trying to pretend I hadn't just been bawling like a newborn calf.
At the gas station, a man and his daughter got out of his truck. He was holding several bags, and she carried a purple stuffed unicorn. The pair approached the car parked directly ahead of them, and when the trunk opened, they put the girls belongings inside...
(Oh, I know what this is. So familiar. Except our "exchange" point wasn't a gas station. It was a downtown Shoney's. When there still was a Shoney's. And my mother never stayed in the car...)
Dad and Daughter embraced. I looked away from them, partly to give them the respectful privacy I felt they deserved, and partly due to my uncontrollable waterworks. Whether it was the result of their awkward goodbye, or the remarkably shitty series of events earlier in the weekend, I do not know. They separated. Dad realizes Daughter has forgotten a few items in the backseat. They meet again, embrace again. People stare.
With the exchange complete, Dad and Daughter depart in separate vehicles, and I imagine the exchange between Mother and Daughter.
"How was your weekend with your dad?"
"Did you do anything special?"
"Well, you're chatty."
"I'm just tired..." (fake sleep. Think over the oddities and foreign happenings of the weekend. Sigh of relief that the next visit will be months away...)
But maybe that was more my mother's and my own exchange, than this mother and daughter.
The whole situation made me achingly sad. For the little girl. For her dad. For my Dad. And for my own feelings, or lack thereof, of which situations like this make me aware.
I wish I hadn't seen it.
And I never want to have to ask my own kids, "how was your weekend with your dad".