It was 4:00 pm sharp. A blue mini van pulled up to the curb but neither the mother nor the daughter got out. From my office window I could see the mother twisting in her seat to face her daughter sitting behind her. The mother pushed her long blond hair out of the way and as she began to speak. I watched as her right hand made rhythmic movements in the air. There was no response from the back seat. Then a quick gesture to her wrist watch and the hand movements became sharper, more decisive. The girl didn’t seem to notice. Like a cameo she sat motionless, her eyes lowered.
Moments passed, the mother waited. Then the mother turned and touched something on the dashboard and suddenly the wide side door of the van began to slide open. The daughter, now in full silhouette, was playing a hand held electronic game. She was thin, her blond hair chopped off at chin level. One flip-flop hung from her right foot above a nest of fast food wrappers. Never looking up, her right hand reached for a button above her head and slowly the door slid shut once more. It was now 4:04 pm.
Looking as if she were conducting an opera, both of the mother’s hands now danced as she spoke. The van wobbled under so much emotion but the girl remained steadfast and played on.
Next the mother turned away and momentarily lowered her head on the steering wheel. Then her head sprang back up and she reached for something beside her. Opening the door the mother stepped outside and with her back to the van she placed a call on her cell phone.
The girl glanced up and took a quick look around. Our eyes almost met. I smiled and nodded but the girl scanned passed me finally settling her eyes back on the electronic toy that she held on her lap. Then she waited.
Unsatisfied with her phone call, the mother snapped shut her cell phone, and as she spun around to open the car door the girl’s hand shot out and touched a button on her door, the doors locked. Unable to hide her satisfaction, the girl turned her head away from her mother and as she tried to suppress a smile she did something unexpected, she looked to see if I was still watching. And I was.
A single scene in a larger short story about a girl hurting from her parent’s divorce.