The Nurturing Parent

        After a long day, I meet them at the park. Matt. The two girls. He’s a good dad, the kind that’s involved. Always there to help out—makes spaghetti, does dishes, takes kids to the pediatrician. He’s always been that way…I wonder if he might be able to help with my busted tail light.

        I get out of the car and put on my hood. It’s starting to sprinkle as I cross the grass to the blacktop basketball court where they’re practicing free-throws.

        The older girl, pasty-skinned in shorts like him, bends her knees and sticks her bottom out, frowning at the basket as she aims. He waits quietly, no extra words to interrupt, a smaller basketball palmed in his hand for when it’s her younger sister’s turn, who is dreamily dancing in the key at the other end of the court. When the older one shoots and misses, and he steps quickly to rebound the ball and bounce-pass it back to her.

        “Dad, it’s starting to rain,” she says, a hint of complaint in her voice.

        “I have an extra umbrella,” I offer. Matt notices me and smiles.

        I don’t know why, but sometimes our chemistry climbs uphill like crazy, even after all this time. It might wax and wane, but it always waxes again.