A Little Girl and Her Daddy

Katie knew the sound of change in her daddy’s pocket. She didn’t hear it the way adults hear it. To her, it was like a party. And she knew that when her daddy dropped the change in his pocket, it was going to sound like candy coming out of the machine at the grocery store.

They finished their shopping quickly. Daddy moved up and down the aisles with efficiency and speed. He didn’t use lists—he used categories. This afforded him the luxury of speed and helped him avoid the trap of random supermarket layouts that make you buy more. With every abrupt stop, the pile of quarters in his pocket shook and caused Katie’s mouth to water as she thought about the candy she would get for helping Daddy shop.

They finished and walked to the door. With every step the quarters slammed into his leg and shook the entire earth. As they passed the candy machines, Katie grabbed Daddy’s leg and pulled, her feet sliding helplessly on the floor. Pleading with the voice of honey itself, she begged Daddy to stop for candy. It was their tradition. He pretended not to notice, and she pretended she needed to move the mountains to get him to see her. She had perfected her tone and puppy dog eyes so that even strangers passing by felt pity for her instead of disgust for her display.

Daddy slowed to a stop and fished in his pocket, intentionally taking the time to find the right quarter for the machine. The coins screamed mercilessly at their disruption and he pulled one of them from the safety of his pocket to its fate in the girl’s hand.

Daddy kneeled to her level to hand her the coin. Gently, Katie took the quarter and kissed his cheek as softly as a breeze. She skipped to the machines and stood thoughtfully wondering which candy she would get, even though she always got the same thing. 

She slid the quarter into the slot and turned the crank, enjoying the grinding sound with each catch of the gear. The quarter dropped and so did the candy. Beckoning him with her eyes, Daddy came to her and put his hand under the lid. When she opened it, the candies poured out, clicking softly into his hands. He took one and passed the remainder carefully to her hands.

They left the store. Daughter by her Daddy, picking each candy and eating them one by one, still listening to the cries of the other quarters in Daddy’s pockets, patiently waiting for the day she would get another.

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