This morning was the worst. I was tired. My knees ached and my feet were still sore from being squeezed into my cheap ass dress shoes all day yesterday. I was beat and I didn’t want to get up.
But Joey had to get to school and I told him I’d pick him up at 7am. I put on my pants and stuck my arms into the sleeves of a hawaiian shirt. Then, I stumbled to the laundry room and pulled his school clothes from the dryer. I yawned and checked my phone as I left the house. 6:48am.
I pulled up to Joey’s house and called him. He answered and asked, “You out front?”
He hung up his phone and, in less than a minute, he was walking out the door holding a book bag, trumpet case and drink container. He looked tired, too.
I slid from driver’s seat and opened the back door for him. Then, before I could stop my tongue, I said, “Goddamn it.”
I had forgotten to unpack my music and sound equiptment and most of it was piled on the back seat. I continued to cuss outloud as I worked to clear the sitting area. The car was a mess.
Joey said, “It’s taking too long. I’ll do the rest.”
“Be patient,” I snapped.
“Why are you always so slow?”
“Slow,” I blurted. “I’ll show you slow. Go back into your house and we’ll start this bullshit game over.”
I don’t usually swear around Joey but, this morning, I was vulgar and profane. I had misplaced my filter and I wasn’t trying to find it. I was too tired to care.
Joey just shook his head and climbed into the back seat when it was ready. He stopped arguing with me and settled in with a video on his smart phone.
I pulled into McDonald’s and parked. I gave Joey a twenty dollar bill and said, “Get what you want.”
“Aren’t you coming in?”
“No, I’m not up to being called old and slow today. I’ll just sit here.”
Joey took the money, opened his door and left to place his order.
I closed my eyes and thought, “I love that boy. But, today, maybe I am too old.”
I took a minute and emptied my mind. I whispered the third step prayer. I opened my eyes, left the Mescalade and walked into McDonald’s to find Joey.
He was sitting at a corner table furthest away from where most of the patrons were gathered. He was sipping his caramel frappe through a straw, scrolling the screen of his smart phone with one hand and unwrapping a bacon egg and cheese McGriddle with the other. A cup of coffee and a sausage biscuit were placed across from him. Joey looked up when I scooted my butt onto the fiberglass bench in front of the extra breakfast and said, “That’s for you.”
I said, “Thanks. Where’s my change?”
Then, he laughed and handed me a ten spot and several coins.
I took a sip of hot coffee and relaxed. My head cleared a little, my bones ached less and, as I bit into my biscuit, I thought, “I’ve just be schooled.”