The school bell rings. Molly quickly packs up her things, tucking them away carelessly into the drawer in her desk. She doesn’t have to worry about them for the next fifteen and a half hours.
She goes to her locker and grabs her backpack and jacket. Her mother is waiting by the front door. She greets Molly and asks about her day.
Molly tells her, “It was okay. Miss Davis gave us new table groups. She says Sammy talks too much, so I don’t sit next to him anymore. She told us we’re going to have class elections. We’ll vote for a class president and pick a person to represent our group of desks. She called it a riding, she says you have one too Mommy and you vote for someone to represent your group of desks.”
Her mother nodded along but didn’t really have the patience to follow. She led Molly out across the field to where she had parked their car. She was stressed about her new project at work and couldn’t get her mind to focus on her daughter’s story.
“Sally said she’s going to run and I pinky swore that I would vote for her.”
They got to the car and Molly’s mother unlocked the doors. Molly got in the backseat on the driver’s side. Her mother thought it was safer because she’d read that drivers will instinctively protect their side of the car in an accident.
As they drove down the streets towards the other side of town Molly looked out the windows. Going down 14th street she saw a couple holding hands and an agitated man talking on his cell phone. She rolled down her window to fell the breeze on her face. It was almost spring, the snow was starting to melt and the roads were sloppy.
Down the hill a family was waiting at a bus stop. It was in front of a gas station advertising fifteen cent slurpees. Molly was over come by an unquenchable desire for a frozen sugar drink, but her mother said they couldn’t stop or they would be late.
Molly looked back with longing as they passed the gas station. Next came an area full of coffee shops, stores and restaurants. University students goofed off and walked along the road.
They went across the ten street bridge into downtown. The cars moved fast and everyone seemed to be in a hurry and they all wore suits. Molly watched a bicycle courier advance dangerously on a red light.
They left downtown and entered the suburbs. The roads got bigger and faster as they drove through overpasses and interchanges.
They turned into a strip mall near where Molly’s piano teacher lived. They usually came here for dinner beforehand. They walked up to the counter and Molly knew exactly what she was going to get: mac and cheese and a chocolate milk. Her mother took a couple of minutes to decide. In the end she got an egg salad sandwich and an earl grey tea. Molly wondered what this Earl Grey had done in order to be important enough to have a tea named after him.
They sat down at the comfy chairs near the fireplace, a rare treat because they are usually taken first. They sat and talked while nibbling at their food.
A five minute drive later they got to the home of Molly’s piano teacher. She lived in a split-level house with paneling on the outside. Her favourite colour was tangerine. Her mother rang the doorbell and they were let in.
Molly’s mother took a seat on the couch in the living room where she usually sat and read a book getting away from her day.
Molly was learning a new piece called Kangaroos in Springtime. The name was original and didn’t include prelude in the title like they so often did. It was simple. Five notes and an easy progression but her fingers were clumsy, the rhythm was off and it felt awkward. She hated learning new pieces because she wasn’t any good at them yet. It was like tying your shoe for the first time your fingers struggle, get the knot wrong, it comes undone and then you have to do it again.
After a couple of tries she got better and her fingers found the way. They moved onto the next piece, Wintersong. She hadn’t practiced it as much as she should’ve and felt guilty. Her piano teacher could tell.
Molly played it as best as she could and her teacher got annoyed. They worked through it all the same. Molly resolved to practice this week. Before they knew it the hour had passed by. Molly rejoined her mother and hoped in the backseat.
They drove home the same way they came. Even though they’d driven this way a hundred times Molly looked out the window and watched the world go past. It was a little bit different every time.