I immediately looked for her reaction in her eyes. Would she be scared? Embarrassed? Surprised? Disappointed…? Of all the places for it to happen, at church had to be the worst. Not so much for me, but for my fourteen-year-old daughter walking out of church with her peers. It would certainly be a test.
As she walked toward the car, I could see the flashing lights reflecting on her face in the falling dusk. I quickly locked eyes with my youngest, knowing she’d be searching for answers. I gave her my barely amused “look” mixed with my slightly aggravated one.
I have to give my daughter credit, even before she could get a read on the scenario, she continued to move toward the awkward scene – toward me – the one in the center of the uncomfortable scenario.
As church got out and everyone walked toward the parking lot, they all stared at her and me both. I had the windows rolled down, not caring to hide the sins of my daughter’s father. My youngest climbed into the car beside me still self-conscious, “You’re late,” I casually mentioned to her.
“Yeah, they kept us a little late… What did you do?” she asked.
“What do you think?” I answered her with a question.
As the lights flashed on the side of her face and reflected off my face through the rear view mirror she answered, “Speeding.” She knows me too well.
We waited for the cop to finish running my license and writing me a ticket while we blocked traffic parked in the exit crosswalk and the police car right behind me with his blue and red lights now piercing the almost completely black night. “How come you were speeding?” she asked. “I didn’t think I was,” I answered, “I guess the speed limit drops to 40 in front of the fire station.”
As the officer about half my age handed me the ticket and informed me of my rights I looked straight ahead, waiting as politely as possible for him to finish a declaration I probably knew as well as he. When the young man began to speak to me in a condescending manner, explaining to me the dangers of speeding, I looked over at my daughter with that same slightly amused mixed with aggravated “look.”
She knows me too well… She knew exactly what I was thinking. I took the ticket never looking back up at the officer as I rolled up my window. As I drove off, probably a little faster than I should have, a couple of things dawned on me that I shared with my little one, “I didn’t even think about it being the last day of the month!” She didn’t respond. I glanced at her again, “You did good, babe… I thought you’d be more upset.”
“Naw – I wasn’t too surprised,” she said with a soft honesty… The ticket? I could care less… My daughter? I couldn’t care more… She’s learning the sad truth that the flesh is weak. It hurts to see it in her eyes… And the reflection of it being me in the blue and red flashing lights…