Walking Alone


Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another (Eph. 4:32).

Yesterday my friend and I argued. So today I didn’t walk to school with her. I may never walk with her again!

I stepped over all the cracks as I walked down the sidewalk.

At the end of the block, I had to cross the street. Usually I look one way and my friend looks the other way. But today I had to look both ways before crossing. I saw a car coming. It swooshed as it passed, and I felt the air rush against my face. I looked both ways again and crossed the street.

I walked down the street where all the houses are shaded by maple trees. The yards don’t have much grass, but they do have a lot of stuff that I call moss. My friend and I like to stop and rub our fingers across the moss. It feels like velvet. But I didn’t stop today. Today I just kept walking.

I turned the corner and came to the house that has a wooden bridge that goes from the sidewalk to the front door. Below the bridge is a flat, smooth lawn with a birdbath in the middle. Sometimes my friend and I rest our elbows on the railing of the bridge and pretend that it leads to a castle. But not today. Today I just kept walking.

At Main Street I waited on the curb. Main Street is wide and has lots of traffic. But there is a crossing guard to help. She stopped the traffic, and I crossed the street. Usually she says, “Good morning, you two.” Today she just said, “Good morning.”

I said, “Hello,” and kept on walking.

I almost stopped at the toy store. My friend and I like to look in the window. Besides lots of toys and fancy, dressed up dolls, there are wagons and skates and bikes. But I didn’t stop to look today. Today I just kept walking.

Next to the toy store is a grocery store with a gum machine by the front door. It has red, yellow, green, and white gum balls. My friend and I both like the yellow ones best. Sometimes my friend and I stop on our way to school and buy gum balls to have after lunch. But not today. Today I just kept walking.

I crossed the stone bridge over the Indian River. My friend and I like to stop and watch the sparkling water swirl around the rocks. Sometimes we throw pebbles into the water and watch the circles that form. But not today. Today I just kept walking.

I walked as fast as I could past the firehouse. I didn’t want to be in front if the sirens went off. They go shreeeow,shreeeow! The sound hurts my ears. My friend and I always hold hands and run past the firehouse.

I looked at the clock on the steeple of the church on the hill. I had ten minutes to get to school. Sometimes my friend and I skip fast up one path to the steps of the church. We sit and catch our breath. Then we skip down the other path back to the sidewalk. But not today. Today I just kept walking.

At last I was almost at school. I stopped in front of the house with a sign by the front door that says: “Built in 1726.” Sometimes I imagine myself living in that house way back then. But not today. Today I ran the rest of the way to school. It was a long way without my friend.

I saw my friend in class, but I didn’t talk to her all day.

When school was almost over, I looked at the clock six times. Finally the big hand clicked and moved ahead. The bell rang. I scooted out of the classroom as fast as I could go so that I could get home without seeing my friend along the way. I ran past the old house and the church. I ran past the firehouse with my hands over my ears. I zoomed across the stone bridge.

I stopped when I got to the grocery store. I slipped a nickel into the gum machine. Out came a yellow gum ball. I stuck it in my pocket and ran past the toy store.

As soon as the crossing guard nodded at me, I hurried across Main Street. I dashed past the house with the wooden bridge and down the street made shady by maple trees.

After I stopped at the corner and carefully looked both ways, I sped across the street. Then I ran down the sidewalk, and I didn’t even watch out for cracks. I stopped for a moment in front of my friend’s house. I wondered when she would get home.

As I walked up the front steps to my house, I felt something round and smooth in my pocket. It was the yellow gum ball. I decided to save it for my friend. I think I’ll give it to her when I walk to school with her tomorrow.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Julie F. Young