A little extra this morning, but just a little; that stuff’s not free. It doesn’t cost much, but we don’t have much. Well, today’s the day to make it count.

Ten times, up and down, in circles. Front teeth, and now the other side. I spit and rinse and lean on the sink for a moment, looking for reassurance in the clouded mirror. Don’t think about last time, move forward. A shave and a comb through my hair, that’s all I need. And my good blue suit.

No coffee, don’t want to be jittery. Just a bite to eat and a glass of water.

It’s eleven blocks away. I should be early, but not too early. Can’t be late, that’s for sure. Best head out now, I guess. Breathe.

Kisses on the foreheads of the little ones before I go. A kiss on my wife’s lips at the door. She presses my hand gently, and leans in to pin an extra kiss on my cheek. She seems hopeful but concerned. I smile as well as I can and let my hand graze her belly before leaving.

Every third step, I find myself repeating, We need this, We need this, We need this.

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