Mamá needs us out of the house to pack our clothes and picture into suitcases. She’s done this so many times. As always it doesn’t all fit. Layla and I go to the bookstore. On the way over we listen to the Caribbean show. Driving with your two year old daughter is all about musical education. “This is called Soca,” I say. I turn up the bass. “What do you think?” She says it’s good. Almost anything I ask her–she says good and she means it too. She always pauses just the right amount before she says it so that you know she’s really listening.
At the bookstore we see three adolescent girls. They’re laughing and jiggling and scared and pretending not to be aware of how loud they are and that they want everyone to look at them. They go towards the bathroom and then laugh even harder. Layla pauses again and says “nenas silly.” On the way back the Caribbean show is still on. “This is a like a reggae remix of this kind of cheesy song called Lady in Red by the Neville Brothers or something,” I tell her. “What do you think?
After she says that I reach back and give her a sneak attack squeeze on her feet, belly, hands. They play some other songs. One by Luciano. I press the button that opens the gate at Silver Oaks. For a few seconds I think of a poem I could write about all the different times you could listen to music. Music before paddling over a waterfall. Music while drinking the third glass of wine. Music played just before the bombs start falling. I can’t think of one that would be right for waiting as the gates open to your parents’ gated community.
The gate finally opens though and the song changes to something else. Layla looks sleepy in the rearview mirror but we sit in the driveway for a couple more minutes anyway just listening to the song finish. I want to make this part of the day last a little bit more.