The Saturday Morning Institute
of Human Survival

The first time the world demanded more of me, I was twenty-nine.

Standing outside Baby Gator Daycare in 90-degree heat, I watched other parents waiting in air-conditioned cars with engines idling. The exception was the woman breastfeeding her baby on the shaded bench next to me.

“Want to sit?” she asked, moving over. “I’m Dawn.”


“Crazy, right?” she asked, nodding across the street. “Nuclear waste, right there. That field is going to be a nuclear waste containment area.”

“There?” I stared at the field where a group of girls were kicking a soccer ball.

A small plane flew low.

“That low,” she said, looking up. “They’re flying drugs. My ex sold drugs. He couldn’t find work.”

I didn’t know her. We’d moved to Florida the previous week, and this was my daughter’s first day at the university preschool.

She reached into her diaper bag and handed me a notice of a meeting. “You free Saturday morning? We’re having our first meeting. I can pick you up.”

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