3:30 p.m. Monday. The office is empty. But for one girl. Two teachers. Multiple phone numbers where no one is answering.
One of us: “We’ll check the program then if that’s where you think you are supposed to be.”
Her: “Yeah. I think I just forgot.”
One of us: “You walk this way every day?”
Her: “Yeah. But not by myself . . . not mostly.”
One of us: Noticing. “Wow. That’s a lot of garbage down there.”
Her: “Yeah. The bad people leave it there.”
Her: “Hey! Are those cameras?”
One of us: “Yes. Looks like they are shooting a movie.”
Her: “My building will be famous! I’m so lucky!”
Both of us: (Deep Breath)
One of us: “So the people at your program are expecting you? We should try there first?”
Her: “Yeah I think. You can’t go up in my elevator. Not without a key. Oh! Oh no.”
One of us: “What is it?”
Her: “I was just thinking about when I walked here Friday.”
One of us: “Oh?”
Her: “There was a bad guy. He followed me and (insert name here).”
One of us: (Breathe) “Really?”
Her: “Yeah. So they had to call the police.”
One of us: (Breathe deeper) “Really??”
One of us: “And?”
Her: “I think they came. There’s lots of bad guys.”
One of us: “Oh.” Because, yes, there are.
Her: “That’s the door. I can go alone now.”
One of us: “No, we’ll walk you in. We need to check.”
Her: “And because of the bad guys.”
One of us: “And because of the bad guys.”
The walk back.
Both of us shake heads. Bemoan the world. Share various expletives. Quick and sharp. Walking back to our safe, not back there, adult world and as we shake off her back there, not safe, childhood home.
Really? Really! Really. 8 years old. Her all but 6 hours life. The not at school life. The can’t make it up life. The where are the eyes and the outcry and the why life?
At the base of the bridge, we are asked to wait. A scene is in progress. Dark clothes. Shady characters. Filming “bad guys” it looks like.
When we walk by, the actors smile.
And we smile back. Both of us, as we shrug off the guilt, the outrage and the sorrow.
You can watch the made for TV movie. The one about bad guys with her building as a back drop.
You won’t watch her story. Her everyday, all but 6 hours, childhood. The one where she feels lucky her building is famous. And we feel lucky we watched it in a movie.
This is the second week that I have joined the welcoming community of writers hosted by Two Writing Teachers. Read more slices here.