Lily texts me, something like Dad, where’s the money you gave me for dinner?, which pisses me off and I write back right away, the immediacy of it, YOU TELL ME where the money is (I gave it to you, I watched you put it in your pocket, check the right one). Write back and tell me you haven’t lost it. Thirty dollars! No one needs $30 for dinner. I gave her the money so she could pay back the church because she said she would go to the water park but then changed her mind since there weren’t any kids her age going, just teenagers, and the park is like an hour away, and our minds flashed to Lily (11) in her swimsuit, unattended, her first month or so with a flip phone, the myriad threats we know exist but can’t entertain they’re so horrible, and agree it would be better if she just came home after her shift (youth volunteer counselor assistant, Vacation Bible School): and that would be easier, the four of us just going to the lake or doing something as a family…but instead, when I go to pick her up she says actually, there ARE kids her age going and can she please go, and her eyes make a cartoon, exaggerated shape when she asks, she bounces, claps her hands like a seal barking for a fish, and I act like an ass, like I’m pissed off and drag my butt back up the parking lot to the teenager who’s in charge, don’t even know her name, unsure of the details but they’re leaving in 20 minutes, Lily needs me to run back home and get her a suit, a packed lunch, which I do (I say keep the money I gave you earlier and use it for dinner, knowing it’s too much but more’s probably better): and when I return with her backpack and a note with our numbers in case her phone dies she says thanks, I ask her to text me later to tell me how it’s going, which she does, and I walk back to the car and it’s very quiet getting inside, driving home, and this is right when it all starts, I think.