The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

Learning to be Cool

The father wants to take a photograph of his daughter at the large airport window, in front of the airplane they will take to Vienna. He’s removed his shoes and walks the gate area in his socks. His teen daughter lags behind him with her head bowed. She wears a pose that she hopes will distance her from the nerdy connotations of her father’s rustling sport socks. She is at the age where cool is of the essence, and equally amorphous, and perhaps frustratingly out of her reach.

The mother is as pale as a Tori Amos album cover. She watches from their set of three seats, watching over her daughter’s gadgets and her husband’s travel books. She may be beaming over her spouse and child, but it’s hard to discern.

The daughter stands still and grumpy for the snapshot, rolling her eyes for all posterity. In the end, she won’t like the process, and later she won’t like the photo either. Here’s hoping that one day she will blush at how dramatically she’d replied to such a slight, fatherly request. In the meantime, a few minutes after they return to their seats, the daughter reaches over and pats her father’s arm–like a vision of who she might become.

–Chicago O’Hare, Illinois.

At a Sneaker Show in Vienna.

At a Sneaker Show in Vienna.

4 comments on “Learning to be Cool

  1. M-R
    May 23, 2014

    Ahh … You caught me with the ending, Paige – and it made me happy. I’m easily rendered grumpy by kids’ desperate need to be cool in the face of anything parentally inspired …

    • Here here, M-R. If she’ hadn’t redeemed herself in the last moment, she wouldn’t have made it to the “nice things” blog. 🙂

      I try to remember how hard it is to be so young, but I am so very protective and loyal when it comes to my folks!
      Good to see you, my friend–

  2. Jeff Walker
    May 27, 2014

    “…as pale as a Tori Amos album cover.”

    Well done. 🙂

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