By David L. Sutton

Driving my daughter to middle school
She brushes her hair
I listen to the radio
A member of the punditocracy rants
The President is wrong yet again
"Where's my makeup?"
A touch of panic in her voice
"You look nice."
"No, I don't."
She hides her face in her hands
"What's the matter?"
"I can't go to school looking like this."
"Looking like what?"
"Like this! Can't you see?"
She turns her woman-child face toward me
"You look beautiful."
"No, I don't!"
Now come the tears
I grumble and mumble and check my watch
No time for this detour
More grumbling, more mumbling
I turn the wheel and head for home
At the house she dashes inside
The seconds pass
She emerges with a small bag
We continue our journey in silence
She applies her makeup
A small bottle of foundation and clear lip gloss
I listen to the radio
A stock market report
The Dow is up, while the Nasdaq is down
In the school office I sign the logbook
She gets a hall pass
We linger for a moment
"Bye, Dad."
"Bye, Alison."
"I love you, Dad."
"I love you, Alison."
"See you this afternoon."
She walks to her classroom
I walk to my car
Puberty is hell


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