When Take-Your-Daughter-To-Work-Day goes terribly wrong
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And Liss looks at me. And her face is open. She smiles. She smiles! Children have a way of smiling, when they do simple things. Like when Liss puts on sunglasses, every time, she smiles—like it’s the most delightful thing that could happen—putting on sunglasses! Getting out of the car at the beach! Opening a car door in a giant parking lot in Santa Monica! Like that’s the most beautiful thing in the world.. And maybe to her it is. Maybe to her the sand, and the sun, is really all there is. I was like that the first time I went up the PCH, for a minute. Driving along that coast. The world is so simple. Mountains on one side. The ocean on the other. Some railroad track. A thin beach—some strip of sand. Light. Sandals. Bare feet. Sun. And smiling. Smiling ‘cause the sun’s so bright you squint your eyes. It warms you. Warms your shoulders. Looking at the edges of some minor waves. Too weak to surf. Just children, and blankets, and women, and wives. Just husbands, and boyfriends, and coolers, and beer. Restaurant up the coast. Train crossing. Cutting us off from the highway. For a moment, this is all there is: just Liss, and me, and puddles. Just Liss, my girl! My beach book—looking over the pages. Wonder! Kids! New friends. And playing. Simple playing. And miles and miles of sand.