When I opened my eyes he was sitting on the edge of the bed smiling at me. He needs a shave but we don't have a razor. I need coffee but he won't give me any, saying it will stunt my growth.
I'm still a little bit bitter about that (MULTIPLE. PUNS.) since apparently I was actually done growing and could have had coffee all along and instead developed some sort of sick attraction to orange juice.
Time to get up, Bridgie. Tear-down this morning. I want you to stay close by, okay?
Can I have breakfast first?
It's here. I went and got some things while you were still asleep.
These are my favorite mornings, ones where I'm not required to wake up, get dressed, wash my face and hands, brush my teeth and then try and hold on to Lochlan from the back of the motorcycle when I'm still half-asleep and then read a kids menu for things like "Little Slugger Sausages" or "Princess pancakes" because every truck stop diner from here to the end of the earth has a kids menu only I didn't think I was going to be a kid out here. Out here I thought things would change.
I got you hashbrowns and a toasted ham sandwich with juice.
I didn't think scrambled eggs would keep us full today.
He kisses the top of my head and tells me to come out and eat before it gets cold.
I follow him, wearing his t-shirt and a pair of pajama shorts. He says I should stay in that outfit and winks at me but he's being disgusting and he's also kidding, since we have clothes we keep aside just for the hard labor days to wear today. They are covered with grease and torn sometimes too. I don't know why mine are. He hardly lets me do anything.
Here, hold these bolts, nut.
Harhar. Hey, can I try the wrench?
Sure. He sits back with a wry smile and takes off the gloves, passing them to me. I put them on and put all my strength into turning the wrench. It's half my size. Then I realize I can swing off it, feet off the ground. It's not going to budge.
Tomorrow you get two breakfasts. There's no way you should be so light.
Yeah. He reached out and stroked my cheek with the back of his fingers. You will. Soon, I bet. He nodded and told me to hurry up. We have twenty minutes to get this one down, so can I hold this part right here so it doesn't fall while he takes it off?
Sure, even though I know now that I'm not holding it, that it won't fall because he braced it already, because I couldn't hold it if I wanted to.
I followed him around for three hours in the sun, drinking water as instructed, listening to him sing, watching him watch every move I make, torn between whether to let me learn things on my own versus saving me from getting my fingers pinched/crushed/burned.
And so little has changed now.
Watch the coffee, Peanut. It's hot. Hey, Padraig, can you put this in a travel mug?
It's fine, Locket. I'm okay like this.
He looked so doubtful. PJ froze in between us, not sure who to listen to.
Lochlan, it's okay. I promise.
I just wish I had been there to catch you.
So do I but it was just a stupid accident.
I worried something would happen when we were out on the road too, you know. All the time.
On the show or the Midway?
Once it did, did you stop worrying?
Well you can now. I'm housebound.
Not so much unless you have a cure for wanderlust.
I do but it always seems to involve danger.
That's just the way I like it.
Yeah and that's just what I want to avoid.
PJ breaks into our reminiscing with his clarification. So...am I supposed to be putting this in a sippy cup for Bridget or is she old enough for a real cup now?
Lochlan punched him square in the chest as he passed him. PJ went to the cupboard. Sippy cup then. Got it.