It’s dark but mild. The wind, remnrants of that destructive Kentucky tornado, swept away all the white Christmassy snow.
I sit in my jacket but without my winter coat in the driver’s seat of my twenty year old car.
I can see the arena from my vantage point.
Under my behind I placed a green pillow, the same one I lug into the arena to help cushion my butt from the cold cement bleachers rinkside. This is an older arena. Only the new complexes have plastic seats and functioning heaters up above.
I never used to sit in the car during practices. Before covid, I would come and go as I pleased, sit here, stand there, mingle or not, leave and come back at a moment’s notice.
Now? Too many rules.
Too many arrows.
Not enough toilet paper in the stalls.
I prefer to sit in my car in peace, surrounded by darkness and nothingness.
I think about stuff.
I think of my kid inside the arena, tying her laces, getting coached, excited to hit the ice.
I think of Tucker, ecstatic when I walked through the door with a pot of beef stew, confused when I left with a kid without him a few short hours later.
I think of the other teen, gaming downstairs, or watching movies. It’s two days before Christmas break, there won’t be any homework now.
I think of his dad taking up an exam with a bunch of college aged kids in his home office. Still zooming, looks like.
I think of my friend who is probably on a date, laughing and drinking and eating snacks with a new quest. How many is it this week? Wasn’t there someone more permanent, just a few weeks ago? Someone who checked all the boxes? I wonder and ponder, then move on to the next thought.
Cookies. My mom was baking cookies when I left her house…
I keep sitting here in my car until I need to pee.
I need to pee now.
And so begins the production:
I need my coat, my hat, my pillow, my mask, my proof of vaccination on my phone, my photo ID and… I’m forgetting something.
I glance at the clock on my dash.
It’s not that late. Practice hasn’t even started yet.
But it feels like bedtime.
Off I go to the rink.