It takes more time to get ready for our date than we actually spend at the coffee shop – her eyeshadow applied with a damp q-tip just so, hair combed, a necklace to perfectly match her dress. The ritual is a sweet thing, her bare feet on the bathroom counter, a temporary tattoo on each in the shape of a heart.
At the coffee shop we ask the barista to name every type of tea, then settle on a cold-pressed juice for my girl instead. And a pink cake pop, since it is our date and I am feeling indulgent.
I get a tea and a pack of apples and biscuits. She steals all of my apples with a smile. Crunches along and stares out the window, talking to a garden slug and all the passing birds.
Then, when she’s ready, she tells me it’s time to go home. And so we do, driving through the rain and pointing out all the clouds in our path.
We arrive home but don’t make it inside for another hour. Instead we sit in our driveway in the drizzling rain and use sidewalk chalk to draw a family of snakes on the ground.
Remember their eyes, Mama, she tells me, so I color in their eyes. Remember their tongues.
Later that morning the rain finally claims our artwork, turning it back into a swirl of color, washing it away through the gutters. My girl turns to me, face fallen.
I’m so sad the snakes are gone.
Me too, I say. If it would make her happy, I’d draw them all again.