Half asleep, looking out the side window of the car at 6 something in the morning. Wrapped up in a sweatshirt that she should be wearing she is curled up in a ball. Right shoulder scrunched against an old pillow --legs goosebumped and stiff, propped under her thighs. She doesn't know I can see her as I pump the gas. Doesn't know I watch her catlike yawn and stretch, one eye open one closed. I would give her a blanket or a quilt if I had one, but I don't. I only have that old sweatshirt and an old car and another 22 hours in the car.

She leans towards the armrest and blinks sleepy eyes at me as I top off the tank and put up the pump handle. Mouths a single word to me, silent but plaintive :


I nod my head and give her a little wink. Trying to look confident despite the circumstances. She sends back a little smile then closes her eyes as she clutches the sweatshirt around her chest fighting back the chilly morning. When I bring the coffee back, she won't drink it but I bring it just the same. Because she likes the smell and she will hold it in her hands just to warm herself up. And because she asked for it. Because I can't tell her no. That's where we are headed, that's where we are.