The endless stream of cars glimmered in the evening sun as they bottlenecked onto the entrance ramp. Anxious and irritated, Bill spewed a fountain of obscenities that hung over the traffic like a gray smog.
“I can’t believe I’m doing this!” he shouted as he glanced in the rear view mirror toward the back seat. “You know I never liked you. From the moment you were born, I never liked you.”
Sandy was sitting quietly, unassumingly gazing out the car window.
Bill knew that Sandy probably didn’t understand him, nevertheless he still regretted the words from the moment they left his mouth. You see, when Sandy was born, her genes were drastically askew from that of her parents. Because of this distinction, she would forever be incapable of developing to the same cognitive or physical level as they; there were many things that she simply would never be able to do. Really, Bill considered it a miracle that she was even graduating.
As traffic finally thinned and his vehicle began to crawl onto the expressway, Bill glanced to his right at the passenger seat. Lying colorfully wrapped and neatly tied with a pink bow, was the graduation present. Next to it was a bouquet of assorted congratulatory balloons. Rolling his eyes, Bill silently chided himself for giving in to his persistent wife, grumbling again about having to leave work early and purchase the gifts.
Sandy seemed oblivious to it all. The road wind whipped through her blonde hair as the vehicle entered the expressway and picked up speed. She seemed to be thinking about all of her experiences at school – her good days and her bad, her difficulties and her successes. Perhaps she remembered the time she bit the teacher on the arm, or the many times she had barked insolent replies without any regards for the consequences. Those days were all behind her now; she had come a long way. Finally, her day had arrived.
Despite their initial brush with traffic, Bill and Sandy arrived at the school with time to spare. Bill’s wife, Claire was standing in the parking lot with her arms folded, anxious for their arrival.
“Did you get the gift?” she interrogated.
“And the balloons?”
Claire smiled and grabbed Bill’s arm as they walked toward the makeshift grandstand while Sandy hobbled along beside them.
“You’re such a wonderful dad.”
Bill was not warming up. “You know, Claire; this really is quite ridiculous.”
“But Bill,” she said, pausing as she lightly tapped his arm. “You know how important this is to Sandy.”
“She’s a dog, Claire! It’s an obedience school graduation for goodness sakes!”
Claire affectionately rested her head on Bill’s shoulder. “Now Bill, someday we’ll have children, you know. Consider this a trial run.”
“Oh, it’s a trial, all right!” he thought to himself. “And I have to say, 'I object!'”