My daughter climbs into the back of the van, steadies a stack of library books and then half-stands again to slide the door slammed. Only the thing just clicks closed and the cabin lights brighten to warn the obvious—somebody’s door ain’t closed all the way. But she knows this. And she sighs—a thing she learned from her mother—and she musters the muscles to heave the door first open again and then shut.
When we leave the garage, it’s just the two of us. And no one speaks.
It’s the natural thing to do. Or not do. And both our beings inhale to the sound of nothing. We wrap ourselves in quiet like a quilt.
When I look up from the wheel, I can see the words of a book, inches from her face already penetrating her brain. And we ride like that—her three seats back bobbing and dipping to my driving, swaying with a lane change, and me adrift in thought.
Sometimes I see her smile. And it makes me smile to know that five feet behind me she is a world away…and happy.
The silence is the same when we arrive. No announcements. No scramble to fill the hush with words.
It’s just my girl and me—hand on shoulder sidling away from the van.