by Aimee Laine
Dozens of colorful images lay in tatters, adorned with wrappers, bottles and a Minni Mouse backpack -- emptied in one upended move at the click of her harness hours before.
“Fifty-five,” she called out -- drew the syllables long. When solid, she gave up her count of the yellow lines that zipped by one after the other -- almost too fast to keep up.
Pressed against the glass, her cheek vibrated. “aaaaaaaaaaaah,” she buzzed, let a tiny giggle escape. Tickled, her hand leapt to her lips, stopped the quiver. When she relaxed to do it again, a circular fog graced the pane -- a blend with the wintry gray outside. Intrigued, she extended one fingertip, recoiled at the cold but returned to swirl a random path.
She breathed another patch to etch with purpose. “M for Mary,” she crooned. Crackles replaced the first before the other three were fully revealed. Mary’s eyes, a brown as silky as chocolate, followed the zig-zags up, down and around the surface. “Triangle!” she announced.
A new shape emerged with each flutter of her lashes -- some she recognized, others went unnamed. Focus intent, the rhythmic jostle lulled her. As she swayed to the cadence, one small hand searched and found purchase; a thumb tucked into her blanket’s satin tag.
Mary drifted but fought against the sleep her body craved. Eyes closed, head relaxed, she spoke once more before she gave in.
“Daddy?” she whispered. “Are we there yet?”