“Take any award-winning photos this week, Hal?” The older waitress asked her usual question as she handed over his daily cup of coffee. Usually Hal would laugh it off, but today he frowned deeply. His three year old daughter, Alaina, was running a fever today and hadn’t been allowed into daycare. He had tried to call in, but his boss had been quick to remind him that “deadlines are deadlines.” Now Alaina was fussing loudly, and Hal’s coffee just didn’t seem to be working its magic on his headache like it usually did.
Sue, the waitress, stopped and offered the young man a knowing glance. “Everything okay, hon?”
Hal massaged his temples and managed a grin. “Oh yeah,” he said, sipping his coffee. “Single parenting is for the birds, that’s all.”
Sue patted his arm, and he hurried out to the safety of his truck. Alaina screamed for twenty straight minutes as they barreled down the highway, and Hal clenched the steering wheel until his knuckles were white.
“I can’t do this!” his mind hollered loudly.
All of a sudden, the toddler’s screaming stopped. “Pretty,” she said.
Hal turned the radio down a bit. “What did you say?”
The girl’s voice grew more urgent, and she pointed emphatically out the car window. “Pretty – pretty!”
Hal followed her gaze and slammed the brakes a little too hard, causing the truck to veer wildly. Alaina was fussing again, but Hal hardly heard her. There, just across the bay, was the most picturesque scene he had ever witnessed. The sun shone over the distant mountains, illuminating the city skyline nestled into the valley below with shimmering beauty. It was something his photography professor would have called an “eternal moment.”
Hal cradled his daughter in one arm and grabbed his camera with the other. “Thank you,” he whispered, as he took the shot.
It was an award-winning photo. He could feel it.
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