“First day of school”

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Monday. August 27, 2018. 7:45 a.m. Center Street. The bus driver and I locked eyes. Sharing daggers. His eyes flicked to his mirror. Cars disappearing over the hill, stacked maybe to Macada, tires impatiently pawing the asphalt. My eyes flicked to my mirror. Cars back to Dewberry, menacing, growling, like a hungry pride behind a lead lion blocking their way to a fresh Zebra carcass. The bus driver and I locked eyes again, severely slit now. Our fuses blown. The bus finally lurched forward like a carriage on a roller coaster. A split-second later, a snappily dressed boy appeared at the edge of the driveway, fully formed, like a hologram beamed directly from the back-to-school department at Target. Too late. His head corkscrewed in disbelief. No help in sight. Stranded between worlds. The boy and I locked eyes. And my anger mellowed in memories of my own fear-filled first days.

Edward J. Gallagher
Originally appeared in the Bethlehem Press, September 25, 2018.

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