As dad sits down with our tray of breakfast, I tell him that my orange plastic chair is about as comfortable as a St. John’s pew. Dad tells me that’s how the priest keeps everyone awake. He wastes no time unwrapping one of his two Egg McMuffins with sausage and cheese, always with sausage and cheese. Dad takes a giant bite, and then another before I’ve put my napkin in my lap. A morsel of egg white clings to his mustache as he chews. I watch as he studies his sandwich. When he looks up and and tells me, with a mouth-full, that I’d better get going, I get going. But not before I watch the egg crumb fall into his lap. I want to tell dad how much I dislike serving morning mass. But I don’t. I carefully peel the lid off my OJ then start in on my cheese danish. I love cheese danish.

Some noise at the side entrance gets our attention. Dad and I watch as a young woman and a man enter the restaurant. The young woman, maybe just a few years older than me, is in a wheelchair. She’s wildly moving her head and arms while making a lot of garbled noise that I can’t understand. She seems to be drooling, too. The man keeps saying, Yes sweetie, I know, I know, so I assume he’s her father. An employee behind the counter greets them from afar. Dad looks at me with his eyebrows raised and says that sometimes people like her are actually geniuses. I ask what’s wrong with her. Dad shrugs, takes the last bite of his sandwich, then grabs for the other while saying come on eat up, we’ve got to get you to school.


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