A bead of sweat trickles down my neck as I shift anxiously,
left foot, right foot, a little hop.
Two cars, barely intertwined, stall my walk home.
Five-years-old and impatient, I wait for my mom
across the street, getting the unofficial accident report
from the crossing guard.
The high wall on our right conveniently blocks out the sun,
My friends and I giggle at our independence
as we walk to Girl Scout Troop 462’s meeting.
In sixth grade we think we know how to check our corners
How to be cautious and how to be safe,
but we know we still have to wait for the crossing guard.
The sun glares down as I squint across the street,
just free of sixth period, I've started my walk home,
But the boy from science class is goofing off with his friend.
He doesn’t notice me and I try not to stare,
I want his attention but four lanes separate us
thanks to the crossing guard.
Sophomore year means I walk home with a boy holding my books,
and I hold his hand even though it’s hot out.
Those four lanes mean nothing
to me and that boy from science class.
I barely notice as I’m motioned to stop at the curb,
and the crossing guard holds up her sign.
Tears, not sweat, wet my face as junior year ends.
I drag my feet on the walk home, and carry my own books.
I am not paying attention to curbs or crosswalks,
but when I reach her street,
she gives me a smile and motions for me to wait,
And the crossing guard helps me on my way back home.
We round the corner the last week of August
in the family car packed full with my college necessities.
I wait anxiously for the light to turn green,
So I can begin life in “the real world,” be independent.
In my haste and excitement,
I don’t notice the crossing guard.
I don’t walk home anymore.
With adulthood comes a car and an insurance bill,
and the sweat and tears come for different reasons.
One day she was gone and never came back.
And when she died I had to remember
to check my own corners before I cross the street.