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The Glimmer Lady

None of us kids liked to go down Maple Street, and not just because this was bully territory. On Maple Street there’s a really weird old lady that you almost never see. Most kid called her ‘the witch’, but in my mind, she was always The Glimmer Lady.
She was a little weird, though I like the word eccentric better. But, then, so was I.
I was always getting picked on by bullies, and in my mind, she was a guardian angel. I don’t know why I avoided her since she was like a goddess to me. I guess because I didn’t want the other kids to have one more reason to tease me, I knew if they did, they would latch onto it and hold on tight.
I called her The Glimmer Lady for good reason; her car is an Edsel and she’s somehow made it so it gleams and shimmers. Her walk has hundreds of mancala stones embedded in it, and it shines too.

My friendship with the glimmer lady began one hot July day, when my mother, tired of seeing me slouching around the house sent me to the five and dime for a loaf of bread, some milk, and a small can of tomato paste. She told me not to be silly about avoiding Maple Street and that I had exactly 20 minutes to get down to the store and back or she’d punish me.
It usually took about 25 minutes for me to walk to the five and dime, since I always avoided Maple Street, so I set off. This time I was bound and determined to go along Maple Street since, back then, the worst thing that could happen to you would be to be punished by your mother. I made it to the store just fine and I was right in front of The Glimmer Lady’s house on my return trip when it happened.
The biggest bully in the neighborhood, John Kocklinki, stepped out of the bushes and threw a punch. I never saw it coming and it hit me square in the jaw. That punch knocked me off my feet and threw me onto the pavement. He kicked me a couple of times tearing my pants, I could feel my leg start to bleed. And my jaw was bruising. He was just winding up again when here she came.
The door of her house banged open. John just stood there, looking stupid with his mouth open. She came striding down the walk straight toward us and there was fire in her eyes. I’ll never forget how she looked that day; she was wearing a midnight blue dress while a sky blue scarf decorated with stars and planets danced around her shoulders. Her gray hair was flying every which way but it still somehow looked tidy.
I saw her come at us and I saw her grab John and thrust him away. He came running right back at her and she simply spun him around and hissed “go home.” He did.
She gathered my bag of groceries up, placed one hand on my shoulder and steered me toward the house. I got inside and she placed me down on a couch, I lay back and started to ask a question, but then sleep poured over me like a black wave.



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