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September 13, 2011
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It’s a warm spring day with the almost-summer feeling in the air when she gets off the bus. He follows behind her and, once they both set foot on the sidewalk, he grabs her by the waist, picks her up, and spins her around once. She laughs. He does this everyday and she still laughs. It’s their little routine.
Sometimes I wonder if one day I’ll see her get off the bus and he won’t follow. She won’t laugh. She’ll have those white ear buds in both ears, blasting some sad song while she walks away as fast as she can before he gets off a minute later. I’m afraid for that day because I love that girl’s smile. To see her cry would be like watching a star fall out of the sky.
Watching them takes only a minute out of my day, but it’s a minute that should be spent inside, working. I have bills to pay and my own children to feed, but I always watch them.
I first saw them a year ago. It was the first real day of spring, so I brought my laptop outside to work. My setup was a little creaky card table under our big willow tree. The leaves created a curtain from the sun, but not from the neighbors. So, when the ugly yellow bus screeched to a halt down the road, I could see every kid as they jumped off, each with an enormous bag filled with books and binders. As a mother of little ones, I couldn’t help but watch them, wondering if my little Sam would carry an extra duffle bag for a sport or if Anna would carry that many books and I sure won’t let them wear both ear buds when they’re walking along a busy street.
And then I saw a short brunette with that “girl-next-door” look get off. She was smiling ear to ear, like someone had told her something funny, but not funny enough to deserve a laugh. She paused briefly and then started walking down the street toward me. Not even a second later, a boy with wavy, slightly long brown hair bounded off and chased after her. When he reached her, he grabbed her around the waist and picked her up in the air, spinning her around in circles. She was screaming “stop it, Aaron! Put me down now!” but she was laughing so he didn’t stop until he was too tired. He put her down and they walked past my house, talking about their biology homework and what were they going to do for their English project because it’s due the next day and they hadn’t started. They stopped a few houses down and the girl turned to go into, presumably, her house. He must have said something because she turned around and then bam! He kissed her and started running down the street yelling “I love you, Emily!” She just stood there, dumbstruck, for a few minutes until finally she smiled that amazing smile and ran inside.
Every sunny day from then on, I was out at the card table, waiting for 3:07 when the bus would drop off Aaron and Emily and I could watch them walk down the street, hand in hand. On rainy days, I was set up at a window, waiting for them to run down the street, Aaron jumping in puddles to get her wet.
Three months later, in the beginning of summer, Emily came to my front door, asking if I needed a babysitter or knew anyone who did. I didn’t need one. I could work and take care of Anna and Sam, but I hired her anyway. She came over every day and took them over to the playground for a few hours. Aaron would sometimes join them and teach Sam how to play soccer.
But then summer ended and Emily was sorry but she was too busy with school to keep babysitting and over time, Sam and Anna stopped asking when she was going to come over and play.
Life settled into its routine of work, work, and more work, but I always took a short break at 3:07 to watch Aaron and Emily laugh and smile and say goodbye until tomorrow, all the while hoping that nothing would ever tear them apart because I loved that smile more than anything.
And once they went into their respective homes, I went back into mine and picked up my short brunette with a stunning, if slightly toothless, smile and kissed her on the forehead, thinking that if I ever saw Anna cry, it would be like watching all the stars fall out of the sky.





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This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

elena13 said...
Oct. 8, 2011 at 9:22 pm
Beautiful writing. It pulled me in.
 
mesque said...
Oct. 4, 2011 at 8:54 pm
Very sweet, I love the visuals and the writing flows well.
 
rachflam said...
Oct. 4, 2011 at 8:17 pm
I love this. Absolutely amazing. Written really well, too. Good job, Ali! :)
 
sdaytime said...
Oct. 4, 2011 at 4:12 pm
I really like the story! it's cute.
 
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