The Daughter was going to go on a school field trip to the state capital building and the state museum for the bulk of a school day in the middle of December. The opportunity was available only to the students who were doing well in their classes.

When I used to work downtown, I used to donate blood at the Empire State Plaza, fairly religiously, every eight or nine weeks. Though I’d been back working downtown for over a year now, I had fallen out of the habit until mid-December.

After I had donated for the 159th time, by their records, I stopped at McDonald’s. The odd ritual I used to have was going to Mickey D’s every time I gave blood, and there’s one in the ESP concourse, not too far away.

I’d ordered my food, but I hadn’t received it yet when this horde of kids show up. It’s my daughter and her classmates! The line is so long that I figure I’ll be done eating by the time they get their food. I DO bring her some French fries and ketchup while she was in line, which she appreciated, though her classmates, I’m told, ate most of them.

However, a lot of her classmates weren’t ordering food, just standing in line with their friends. So the Daughter and two of her friends sit down and eat with me. But what happened to the turkey and cheese sandwich The Wife had packed for the Daughter? The girl hands it to her father to schlep home, naturally.

I finish eating and kiss the Daughter goodbye on her forehead, as one of her friends rolls her eyes. I walk away, but double back behind that friend, who I know better than any of my child’s buds, and make a sound right behind her approximating a belch. The Daughter and her other friend laughed hysterically.

What a rare, and serendipitous, midday meeting with my girl.

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