Before travel mugs were invented
(or before they knew where to get them)
the girl and her dad took real ceramic coffee mugs
with them in his little grey Dodge Colt
for the 45 minute trip down 287
every week-day morning for eight months.
Polo cologne and aftershave,
clean-shaven with a perfect moustache,
handsome in his
crisp dress shirt and tie,
he zipped down the busy highway
bringing them closer to the old neighborhood
to catch the bus
to her high school.
He promised her senior year would be uncompromised
even though they’d moved far away
to another town.
The morning news, weather and traffic updates
kept him awake and alert
while she dozed in the passenger seat,
lulled by the heat and engine.
She’d awaken just in time to see her schoolmates at the corner
staring at their breath in the chilled air.
Chau papi, and a kiss
until she would see him again at 3:30
when he would come back for her
after a tiring day of teaching rude rich kids.
Moody, tired, hungry
the return trip seemed longer and
she couldn’t keep her eyes open again,
leaving him with the radio for company.
Wake up hijita, as he turned the corner on to their street.
She’d gather up her book bag,
and their empty coffee-stained mugs,
he’d collect his briefcase and suit jacket from the back seat,
and the mail from the country road mailbox at the front of the drive.
Inside, they’d retreat to opposite ends of a huge house
to meet again in the morning
for the 45 minute trip down 287.