EBegging in the middle is a difficult thing to do. It becomes easier with repetition.

“January! February! …March!” Each time I crossed the L of the two streets connecting our neighborhood to the school, he stiffly swung the “STOP” sign and boomed one of many creative phrases.

Of course I loved him immediately. When I was introspective, he would catch my eye and wink. I’d color up and tuck self-consciously behind my books.

He must have been in his 60s. As far as I knew, he was never anywhere else and would never be anywhere else. His place each weekday in every sort of weather was between those streets and waiting for me to arrive.

When there were enough of them, the older elementary school kids sometimes defied the L for a diagonal jaywalk. The crossing guard knew them by name if they had lived there long. Blood pressure reached his face even as his words warned the boys against report.

Ill, I went home early one afternoon. The customary greetings as absent as the man himself. I felt vulnerable walking the next half mile to home.

He is someone. He lives somewhere. He probably has family and had worked other places. What if he isn’t our crossing guard someday?

“Thank you,” I whispered to his bent frame. “Please always be our crossing guard.”

I scurried away to school grounds. Our love was mutual.

©2014 Sandra R. Davidson


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