My mother let me sit in the front seat of her car when I was far too young to sit in the front seat of any car. None of my friends were allowed to sit there. They all sat in the back and their mothers waited until they buckled their seatbelts before driving. My mother never reminded me to buckle my seatbelt, but I did anyway because I knew that kids were supposed to use seatbelts and the other mothers would look down on my mother if they found out I wasn’t.
My mother always had the radio playing in her car: 100.5. I traced circles in the frost from the cold water vapor on the passenger seat window. My mother drove fast, her car chasing the street lights and the moon chasing us, and the radio playing “Hey There Delilah.” What’s it like in New York City, he asked. I didn’t know what New York City was. I didn’t really want to know. I drew a tulip in the frost, bending my knees so that I was sitting like the ugly bird my mother once showed me in a science book. Tonight you look so pretty, he sang. I leaned my chin against the window and traced a butterfly, then covered the drawings with my thumb because I didn’t want anyone to see them.