Lise removed the sweaty key from her jogging bra and let herself into the hotel room. Her daughter was lying on her belly, on the queen-sized bed, with her feet in the air and her head in her hands. She was watching reruns of Little House on the Prairie. When she saw her mother, her expression changed from boredom to amusement.
“I can’t believe you liked this show when you were little. It’s so lame.”
Lise smiled, “I used to braid my hair like Laura’s. I loved the episode when she first met Almanzo. He had a huge dimple on his chin.”
“His name was Almanzo?”
“He wore a brown cowboy hat, with a leather strap around the crown. Very handsome. Are you ready for breakfast?”
“I guess. Do they have chocolate chip pancakes?
“I’m sure they do. I’ll just take a quick shower, and we’ll go.”
As Lise stood under the hot water, her mind wandered back to the beach, the boy, and the girl. She wondered whether she had cried for them, or for herself. What did she have to cry about, anyway? She was in Florida, for a whole week, with her daughter. She had saved all year for this vacation. She wanted to indulge them both with room service, pedicures, new bikinis, magazines for reading on the beach, and late-night talks in their pajamas. She would savor every moment. She wished she could collect a few extra moments, put them in a jar, and carry them home, like sea shells. Lise would spend the following Saturday night alone in her apartment, grading papers in front of a muted television, while her daughter spent the weekend with her ex-husband. Wouldn’t it be wonderful, Lise thought, if she could open the jar, pick a moment from this week, and return to it, just until Monday morning?
“Mom! Come on! I’m starving!”
“Okay, Okay, I’m coming!”