Halle pulled into the parking spot--directly in front of the doors--and put the car in park. She sat quietly for a moment, the car still running, and wondered. Every light green. Every one of them. It was funny how little bits of luck here and there could change one's mood. She felt lucky, and managed a smile slightly more sincere than the last she'd given Joseph. She turned and flash it his way; he smiled back.
"Let's go. Our tummies won't fill themselves."
Halle got out first and then walked around the car to open the door for Joseph. He climbed out and closed the door by himself. She reached for his hand, but he didn't equal the gesture.
"We're in a parking lot, hon."
"I'm not a baby."
"Most kids who get hit my cars aren't babies, hon. I would be carrying you if you were a baby."
Joseph sighed, then reached for her hand, and they walked that way to the doors of the coffee house. She opened the outer door, he the inner. The boy was not a baby, after all. It was hard for her to admit, but he was at the age that dependence began diminishing. For too long she had done everything for him that she did not think he was capable of doing, and that was a bunch. Only lately had she began to let him try new things, and she was more surprised than he that he was entirely capable.
He was growing up fast, and it was almost like saying good-bye. Only a few years left--maybe that much--and he would be too big to cuddle. The sadness was synchronous with pride; one could not exist without the other. The way he held the door for her and motioned with one hand as if to say, ladies first, as they walked inside the coffee house was the definition of both.
There was no line in this ordinarily busy establishment. She was immediately called to the counter and ordered a medium double-double, medium hot chocolate, and two large cinnamon rolls. Moments later their order was up, and it was wrong.
"I ordered a medium coffee and medium hot chocolate." She didn't want to make a scene, but every penny counted. She'd almost forgotten about her money situation and despair once again overtook her. All this in an instant, and if she'd waited an instant longer, she'd have realized there was no reason to despair.
"Oops. Only charged you for medium, too. I won't tell anyone if you don't," the cashier said with a wink.
She smiled at him. "Thanks. Have a good night."
"You as well, Miss."
Halle carried the tray to the closest table and set it down. Joseph, a child with which, like any child, these things were very important, said, "I want to sit by the window."
"Okay. You pick."
He pointed to one in the corner and they went there. Halle nearly sat on the fifty left behind on her seat. She picked it up and looked around the place. No one else was seated inside.
It was not lost on her that her luck had been foretold by Joseph only ten minutes ago, but she dismissed it as a superstitious thought. Halle figured she was either lucky or something else, but it wasn't Joseph's doing. No way.