The screen door cracks with a bang, a reminder the spring needs replacing. Past the door I hear dogs barking and the unmistakable sound of a diesel engine. A crowd of kids look in unison, recognizing the one sure sign summer is over: the school bus is a block away.
Danny rolls the black wheeled backpack laced with orange flames back and forth against the uneven sidewalk. I tap my foot as I impatiently wait for the bus to stop for my son. Itís shallow, itís probably unthinkable in Dannyís eyes, but I have a desperate agenda. Iím going to follow that bus.
Before you look down on me as an overprotective mom, you have to know Danny is special. Not special like the pint sized celebrity wannabes and their moms on Dr. Phil last week, but special like heís been through a lot. He was a sick baby, apparently too sick for his dad to stick around because he left before Danny turned one. I got the medical bills and the joy of telling Danny all seven times in his nine years we were moving.
Although few see it now, Dannyís sickness eight years ago physically took a toll. He wears a hearing aid in his left ear and receives speech therapy. The therapist came up with the idea that perhaps this is the year I let him ride the school bus. Danny was all for it. Me? Iíd rather sing karaoke at the Grand Oleí Opry.
The bus garage explained when I called a few times last week that there were six stops after ours. I dart towards the garage as soon as I see Danny sit down in the back seat. I rev the engine on my 1997 van and peel out the driveway.
My heart lurches at the thought of what possible sins Danny might have before him on the big yellow transport. In my day it was cigarettes, a nasty translation of the birds and the bees, and poker. My research shows Danny is in for a world of strawberry quick; street drug version, cell phone porn, and high stakes poker. I weave in and out of traffic praying I can get close enough to see Danny and his activities.
Beads of sweat dance down my forehead. I canít bear the thought of anything happening to my little guy.
Nuts! I donít need a bread truck pulling in front of me. I need to see that bus. I pray the bread truck finds a bakery quickly so I can continue with my project. I canít believe my pastorís wife had the gall to call my plan an obsession. I do not obsess, I merely plan to degrees most moms donít have the love to try.
No one could possibly understand. Danny is all I have. God has a great plan for his life. My job is to make sure nothing gets in the way.
Yes! The bread truck is gone. Iím three cars back and I can just about see...heísÖletís see, leaning in awfully close to the person across from him. Are they exchanging something? What are they doing? Why do I hear a siren? Whatís that red flash? Am I getting pulled over? No way, I canít!
I roll down the window and shoot out in rapid fashion how I just have to follow that bus. The officer grins as he looks to the bus. I spot Dannyís horrified face. He realizes what I canít, that is, until the officer gives me a crisp new ticket. I completely ignored a stop sign in my effort to spy on my child.
The bus moves on as the officer pulls away, mumbling something about me being obsessed. I decide I drove this far, I might as well watch Danny walk in the school. In two minutes I pull up and witness Danny bound down the steps. He turns to me, shaking his head in disgust. He says something, but I canít quite decipher. I love your butt? No, he would never say that. I love you butÖyes, thatís it. Heís still speaking. No sir he did not just say that. I put the car in drive and leave, his words play in my mind all the way homeÖ
ĎI love you butÖget a grip.í
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