School by car

Gabe walks to school, but often begs a lift. I usually dismiss the request. But the day after he came home with three PE bags I acceded. The extra luggage came from kit borrowed from friends when he found out he had a football match that day.

So Eliza, Robin and I accelerated our morning preparations and left 20 minutes earlier than normal. Gabe chatted in the front seat until I turned onto the road of his school, when he entered his bubble of focus and family denial. I parked the car and he let himself out, loaded up with bags, offering maybe a murmur of farewell, but eyes fixed ahead, intent on a clean separation from us.

On we drove, early for Eliza and Robin’s school. The car was dirty from the flock of waxwings that ate berries in the tree over the drive. So we became the car-wash’s first customers of the day. First the manual pressure hose that elicited shrieks when it rose to the windows. Then we entered the wash tunnel with its whirling brushes. Eliza and Robin squealed and chuckled in the backseat. “Again”, they implored as we came out into the light.

Still early for school, we parked and Eliza began reading a Harry Potter novel. Robin clambered into the front seat and lay on the dashboard. We had time for a few rounds of a word definition game, with Eliza pointing out words in the book for one of us to define for the other to guess, then out of the car and into school. Routine restored.

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