Billy was scared but could not stop watching Mr. Thompson from the safety of his special hiding place under the rocking bench on the front porch. Mr. Thompson didn’t particularly like children and while the older kids on the block talked about him behind his back, Billy hid and observed. Mr. Thompson had an imposing physique: he was quite tall and carried most of his frame toward the front-middle, a large paunch poking out from his suit jacket. While he appeared quite ambulatory, he always kept timed steps with an ornate cane. Billy wanted to go out to the sidewalk and sidle up to Mr. Thompson in hopes of being offered the opportunity to at least touch the fine walking stick. He longed one day to fill out his limbs and walk with authority like Mr. Thompson. This day, Billy was surprised to see Mr. Thompson stop right in front of his house. “Mr. Bradshaw,” he called out; Billy didn’t come out from his hiding place, since the only Mr. Bradshaw in their house was his dad. Mr. Thompson turned toward the porch and spoke more softly. “Billy, are you there?”
Billy came out from beneath the bench and wiped the cobwebs from his hair. “Yes, Mr. Thompson?”
“Come and walk with me to the store, please.” Billy ran out to the street, as proud as anything. Mr. Thompson never asked anyone to walk with him. “Oh, and Billy,” he said as he looked down at the small boy and handed him the carved walking stick given to him many years ago by a former neighbor, “you wouldn’t mind holding this for me for a while, would you?” Billy grinned even wider as he took the prized stick in his tiny hands and admired it and its owner up close and personal. They set off like two men on an adventure.
For today’s Write 4 Ten.