Thinking It Through

Across the street was a school bus stop. In the morning she watched the pickup, looking for certain children: the girl with blond braids dangling over a backpack too large for her small body; the mother who was always late, waving for the driver to wait, urging her child to hurry; the boy whose tailless Australian shepherd came with him each morning, stood almost at attention as the bus pulled away, then turned and trotted back the way he’d come.

During the day she often thought about them, and in the afternoon she sat at her window again and watched them climb off the bus and disappear toward—where? Their homes, of course, not talking to strangers, she hoped. Then she turned on the television, always tuned to the news channel.

“In harm’s way,” they were always saying. They meant in the way of bullets, perhaps, or explosives. But everyone is in harm’s way, she thought. Harm can be anywhere.

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