In the car next to us is a young mother and father and their toddler daughter. When the cars don’t move for two hours the mother lets the little girl sit in the passenger seat, while her husband walks the dog out into the ice and sleet to relieve itself. During one faint, brief quiet moment while the little girl looks out the window, the young mother puts her head on the steering wheel and weeps quietly. Her brown hair pools around her shaking shoulders. When her husband comes back with the dog she smiles, and leans her head back in her seat.
Next to them is a small car occupied by three small Asian men. They take turns coming out of the car to walk towards the wreck. The oldest one, seated calmly in the backseat, takes out a big bamboo rice steamer and opens the lid. The others come back in from the cold, put out their cigarettes on the ice, and climb back in the car to eat.
On the other side of us are a family of four, two parents, two tall teenaged children. They’re kind of folded into their Subaru. The mother and daughter have clean, ruddy faces and wear no makeup. The father and son have matching hats.
And there we are, in the middle. The dog is asleep on her bed. Xander is dealing well with the wait; we’re listening to Percy Jackson. I’m the only one freaking out, as usual. When the story is through, Xander is bored. I pull out a small present we bought at the Lego store while he was playing with his cousin. We wait until the cars in front of us move.