Charlotte and I sat at the breakfast nook eating frozen pizza and watching our cat Roxy eat a bird. I watched Charlotte watching Roxy for a few bites before she realized what Roxy was eating and was glad when she noticed what it was it didn’t freak her out. I swept up the rest of it and we got ready to go. We had to drop Lily off for dance lessons and had an hour to kill, just Charlotte and I. So I took her to the expensive ice cream place and it was $14+ tip for two cones, but it was sustainably sourced or something, and we sat there watching the Seattleites come out late spring, near the gloaming: two bearded men holding hands, smiling: most everyone younger than us, expensive eye frames, tats, likely tech. Charlotte was cold and asked if I could close the sun roof and it was a Beastie Boys song on the iPod with a lot of swearing and drug references she didn’t get but I did. Lily said it was alright if the two of us didn’t exactly go right to the dance studio with her but leave her there in the lobby (like, not be seen with her). There were pictures everywhere of girls in tutus, graduated classes. I watched Charlotte look at the pictures, absently picking at her crotch, still a little kid. Lily took a long time in the dressing room like we weren’t outside waiting for her. When she came out she asked if we could take her back to the ice cream shop 15 minutes away where we’d just been and I flat out said no and Lily acted crappy, you could tell by her posture in the car, she turned her back on me and disappeared in the sunset on the lake out the window, and the shuffle brought up a Cocteau Twins song, one of my favorites, and I wondered if she was connecting with that song in some newfound moment of self-pity or self-awareness, it’s hard to separate the two. When we got back Dawn was gone for the night and it was my turn for the reading ritual and I guess the dog is part of it too, she knows to come curl up under the bunk and sit there while Dawn reads beneath the bed and Charlotte lies up top, and Lily in the other room with her head lamp or phone as a light. I picked Huckleberry Finn and started from the beginning. I think Charlotte is a tom boy, she really connected with it. There for a moment I went back in time myself with that book, but never fell in love with it as much as my college professor. How young we were even then, around 20. How much that posture of adulthood continues to look strained and unnatural, why being a kid is so real and lovable in its shortcomings. How the same doesn’t apply as we grow old.