We were stopped at a light late last night, at the intersection of Court and River streets in Hackensack, and my question came during a lull in conversation.
My wife was driving, with our older daughter in the front passenger seat (she claims to get car sick when sitting in the back) and our younger daughter (our baby, who is over 21 years old) beside me in back.
“Yes, it is,” said my wife, matter of factly.
“Wait! What?” my younger daughter exclaimed.
“Something wrong, Maddy?” I asked, pointing to the second-story window of the office building on 60 Court St. “See, there’s a large cutout Superman near the book case in that office.”
“Oh,” Maddy said, “I just thought you had finally gone crazy.”
“You have to admit, it’s a thin line,” she said. “What’s worse is that Mom wasn’t concerned at all. She simply accepted the fact that you had seen Superman.”
“Well, she’s used to me,” I said.
“I think that’s sweet,” said Cathy, the daughter who always cons me out of riding shotgun.
This had been the tone of our family conversation ever since we had retrieved Maddy from the train station in Newark a half hour earlier.
Through some quirk of fate – Maddy has a job interview in the city today, and Cathy wanted to crash somewhere closer than her apartment after an evening graduate class at Montclair State – both daughters were home last night.
So the four of us were together in the car for the first time in many, many months. Like a jazz band that resumes playing together after many years apart, it didn’t take long for our conversation to fall into the teasing, laughter-filled and jumbled rhythms of our younger selves, a dozen years ago, packed in a car and headed for vacation on the Cape.
I closed my eyes and enjoyed the music: Maddy was telling a funny story about trying to adopt a rescue Flemish Giant rabbit from an animal shelter in Canada; Cathy was talking about horses, of course, and working with autistic children; and everyone independently had somehow known about and played Google Map’s recently introduced Pacman game.
|Source:Flickr Creative Commons|
And as I have done every morning for half my life, when I left for work a few hours ago, I whispered goodbye to each daughter outside her bedroom door – and I told them I loved them.
Thank you, Superman, for turning back time for just one night. This morning, this crazy man was no longer whispering into any empty bedrooms.