“Mom, before we get going, I just need some gas.”

“Oh, does this gas station work for you?”

Pause. I churn through any number of ways she could mean this and come up with nothing that makes sense. By this time I’m next to the pump and opening my door.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, this gas station asks for my pin, and I don’t know my pin, so I don’t come here.”

I close the door, taking a deep breath, reminding myself that the next three hours are my time with her, so nothing is more important than just being with her. I turn to look at her, once again going through the options. She used her debit card instead of her credit card. She used her credit card and hit “debit” on the screen. The machines were having a hiccup that one day. Her credit card just doesn’t work with Mobil. But I oversee her credit card and that makes less sense than anything else.

“Just this gas station or all of them?” I ask her.

She’s looking out the window. “It’s such a beautiful day,” she sighs.

“It is,” I agree. We sit for a minute.

Just when I’m about to ask her again, she says, “just this one.”

I evaluate her mood. Can she hear that this could be her fault and not the fault of the fickle technology gods? I think she can. She’s relaxed and I’d just given her a slice of carrot cake, her favorite.

Gently, I say, “could you have hit ‘debit’ instead of ‘credit’?”

She sighs again, “oh, probably.” Nobody says anything for a moment. Then she chuckles.

Oh thank god, I whisper to myself. To her, I joke “well, at least it’s that and not a Mobil vendetta against you.”

“At least it is,” she laughs. “Sweetie, I do hope you’re writing down these ridiculous moments that your mother has.”

“Have no fear, mom. Have no fear.”

I open the door, get out into the 50-degree break from February, and proceed to fill the tank.


You guys keep asking what my next book is about…xoxo

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