Dad's car was immaculate, as was usually the case. Not a smudge on its windows nor a stray bit of dust on its leather; the car was as structured and orderly as the man's mind. The mind that had driven Mom and me away to live with Aunt Helen. His car smelled of lavendar and it's seats squeaked as I fidgeted uncertainly.
"I'm sorry, Bob" he spoke into a tiny microphone as he drove, "but I just wouldn't feel comfortable accepting all of the blame for this one. Surely it was a collabaorative effort by our entire team, and while Katie's loss is certainly an unforseen consequence, she was merely..." he winced as a clatter of loud static or distortion could be heard through his earpiece. "Okay, I'll be there in 20 minutes." he concluded the call abruptly.
The tires continued to whisper softly at 35 MPH for several moments while reflections of Autumn trees and morning sunlight sparkled the windshield. Dad was as placid and unmoved as ever, his hands at 10 o'clock and 2'clock on the wheel as the scenery crept past with methodical, slow-motion, certainty.
The thought struck me then that it was a beautiful fall morning, and I mentioned this notion to my father as the man slowly turned to look back at me with the strangest expression I had even seen cross his face.