And They Marched On
Day Eighteen of Thirty Days of Writing
“There are no accidents, Anna. Everything correlates. Everything connects. Every detail bears a consequence. One instant begets the next. And the next. And the next.”
— Jill Alexander Essbaum (Hausfrau)
It was as if she came out of nowhere. The young girl stared at the older girl through her brown bangs, pressed against her face with sweat from the hot August sun. She had a grin on her face and a red stain above her upper lip from the popsicle that was melting in her hands. The older girl tried to avoid eye contact, hoping her little neighborhood girl would go away. What made her think she could cross the street and sit next to her? Isn’t she too young to cross the street by herself?
The teenage girl tried to focus on her phone’s screen, but the young girl scooted closer towards her. The teen tried reminding herself that her five year old neighbor was young and didn’t comprehend personal space at this point.
The little girl looked down at the pavement and watched the ants march in two parallel lines in front of her little feet. One of the ants would wander out of line and bump into another ant in the next line. Neither ant paused from the collision; they simply stepped back into their original line, continuing their march as if the run in with each other never happened.
The little girl looked back at the older one and scooted even closer, resting her head against the older girl’s shoulder. The teen leaped to her feet, leaving the young neighborhood girl on the front porch by herself. The following day the older girl was walking home from school when she saw a car pull up to the stop sign next to her. She recognized her aunt in the passenger seat of the car, laughing a peculiar laugh she had never heard from her before.
She called out her aunt’s name, catching the young woman’s attention, but her aunt structured her eyes back to the male driver as if she and the teen’s paths had never crossed. The older girl was perplexed.
The sound of footsteps behind her interrupted her thoughts. She was too upset to look back, but she didn’t need to turn around. She had heard those small pattering footsteps before.
The little neighborhood girl caught up to her. They walked side by side for a block or two before the little girl reached out and grabbed the older girl’s hand. They marched along, side by side, a stark distinction among the other kids marching in parallel lines towards school.