Like a line of lumbering multi-colored metallic beetles, the family cars crept along one by one to pick up the children at the end of the school day. One by one, each would reach the yellow line marked on the parking lot asphalt, where a handful of tired teachers and bouncing groups of chattering elementary-age students gathered with coats half-on, half-off, backpacks slung across single shoulders or dashed haphazardly to the ground. One by one, each child would get into a car, driven by a mom or a dad or a grandma or a nanny or someone else’s mom, the door would slam shut, and then the car would move slowly forward, out of the lot and onwards to soccer or gymnastics or tutoring or something.

A girl with long chestnut-brown hair held back by two wide purple barrettes clambers into her mother’s minivan. At nine, she is very pretty; at nineteen, she will be beautiful. A boy with hair that is bewitched by cowlicks follows the girl, stopping suddenly at the minivan’s sliding door. His blue eyes sparkle and widen as he regards the girl as she settles into her seat and snaps her seatbelt. His mouth opens slightly into a smile.

“Emily? I…I…I…um…” The boy’s eyes dash around wildly, searching. “I…um…really…like your car!”

Without looking at him, the girl speaks.“Oh. Thanks, Brady. See ya.”

“Bye! See you! In school! Tomorrow!”

The minivan door with the touch of a button slides and closes, and Brady waves to Emily until her car crawls out of sight.