“Oh, I’m sorry Mr. Russo. I just forgot to toss the dishrag in the laundry room.” She scooted past him and tossed the rag through the laundry room door into the basket of dirty clothes.
“Is that your Vespa in front of the house?” Luke asked, walking Jennifer to the front door. She opened the door and they both looked out at the bubblegum pink scooter.
“Yeah. It was my hus–late husband’s idea. So he could take the truck. He worked out of town.” She looked at her feet. “I can’t bring myself to drive it just yet.”
Jennifer stepped out onto the porch as Luke held the door open. She was surprised that the mention of her late husband didn’t start up a conversation, but it was just as well. Izzy would be waiting for her.
“Well,” she said glancing back at him, “have a nice day Mr. Russo.” She walked down the path to the sidewalk, feeling his eyes on her.
As she sat down on the scooter, buckling the white helmet under her chin, she glanced back at the house. Luke was still in the doorway. He was staring towards the sky, the vacant expression had returned. She couldn’t tell for sure, but she was fairly certain his lips were moving as if he was speaking to someone unseen.
Minutes later, Jennifer pulled the scooter into her assigned parking spot. She let down the kickstand and headed inside. Izzy was already waiting in the living room, swimsuit on and goggles dangling from her fingers.
“You made it!” Izzy said, a grin spreading across her face.
Jennifer smiled. “I told you I would.” She tossed her purse and helmet on the couch, grabbed the pool key from the hook beside the door, and ushered her daughter outside.
As they passed the pink scooter, Izzy’s eyes narrowed and she looked back at her mother.
“I really wish you wouldn’t drive that thing.”
Jennifer sighed, wishing they could just once avoid the daily discussion. “I know Izz. But it’s more practical for short distances.”
“Why don’t you just drive the truck? It’s safer. If somebody crashes into you, you won’t instantly die. Maybe just break a bone or two.”
“Look, Izzy,” Jennifer said as she unlocked the gate to the pool and took a seat on one of the faded white lounge chairs, “can we not talk about this right now? I don’t need the truck. The Vespa is perfectly safe.”
“Hmph.” Izzy pouted and marched off to the pool. Jennifer watched as her daughter jumped into the cool water with her knees tucked up in the cannonball position.
Izzy wasn’t interested in playing Marco Polo with the other kids. When she was in the pool, she just wanted to swim. Back and forth. Deep end to shallow end, and back. Jennifer watched her daughter fly effortlessly through the water. Every time she came up for air, Jennifer read her face perfectly. This was Izzy’s bliss.