What Would You Do?

On my way home...I'm going home...home.
On my way home…I’m going home…home.

“Hey,” I yelled, “Where you running to?”  I couldn’t immediately think of her name…..

She stopped running, gasped for air and said, “Hi Mr. Rice,” Hearing her voice was the tick needed to recall that it was, Alexis.  

“Are you coming from school,” I asked?

“Uh-huh,” she nodded as her breathing slowed down.  

“I stayed after school to redo a math assignment, gasp, gasp. Mom knew about it, gasp.  I was to call her when finished and she would pick me up…”

I interrupted Alexis and told her to get in, relax and finish telling me on the way home.  

“Yeah so anyway, I earned a hundred percent on the redo,” said Alexis.

“Boy, that’s terrific, ” I replied.

Alexis continued…”I missed taking the test the first time because I got a little mixed up on my classes, on account of it’s a new school. Heck, it’s a new city and state too and the school is so much bigger than Lake Elmo Elementary where I was going. There’s a lot of construction going on at Clinton Junior High that wasn’t finished during the summer and August is still summer vacation time where I come from.  So yeah, everything is new to me including beginning school in this month.”

“Well here we are,” and I turned left off of northbound Main Street into the drive of the condo complex.  “You were nearly home, ‘Lexis.”

“So anyway, I tried calling Mom but couldn’t – there was an error message on my phone.  I started out walking but then I didn’t want to worry her so I started to run and I’m glad you called me over because I didn’t know how I was ever going to cross that busy street.”

“Well you’re home safe now.   Why didn’t you use the school phone to call your mom?”

“I just didn’t think of it.  Bye Mr. Rice and thanks for the ride.”  I hurriedly went up to our condo, turned the handle and pushed open the door.  

“Hi Mom, I’m home!”

“Alexis?  I thought you were staying after school for that redo test?”

Thinking it must be getting pretty late I asked, “What time is it, Mom?”

“A few minutes past three.  I thought you were staying after school to retake that test?”

“I did Mom and I got one hundred percent on it.”

“So you didn’t have to remain after school or what?  This is about the same time you normally get here.”

“Humph, really?” I asked, “Because I walked home from school, well most of the way.  You know where that gas station with the green coloring is, on Main?  That’s where Mr. Rice was and he took me the rest of the way, how far do you think it is from the school to there?”

“I don’t know darling but you should’ve called me.  I’ve got the cell sitting on my desk and the mute is off but it never rang. I was just waiting for your call.  Why didn’t you call?”

“I tried Mom but it didn’t work.”

“So why didn’t you use a school phone?”

I sighed and looked out the window. “Well, it’s because  I didn’t think of it, and because I like walking.”

All that way?

Steve Richie

Hi folks, Two lives in one lifetime. The first me, lived to age thirty-four. That Steve was overly confident and oozing with pride. Then, on a record heat-setting day (107º) here in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota and western Wisconsin, a one car near-fatal wreck left me in a two-month long coma. I emerged much as I was before minus certain physical capabilities, but my mind seemed mostly in tact. The crash and its effects did not change me (I emerged a happy individual) but the deeds perpetrated against me in the ensuing months from my wife of sixteen years scared and humbled me as I was dragged down with nothing left by my wife who now had guardianship over all of our accounts. And neither would she allow me to see our kids. She took everything out of, "Our" names and changed them to her name only; then would not allow me to our home and divorced me. I was angry, but no more. I spent half of 1988 and more than half of 1989 in hospitals, nursing homes and a three month stint at a head-injury rehab center where I was being taught how to re-enter society as this different person, that I didn't know. I was not able to return to my previous line of work, a self-employed decorator, you know, painting and paperhanging. It was a physical job which required much dexterity, finesse, and a good grasp of numbers. I returned to the beginning, school, but on a community college level. One of the instructor's liked my writing and I began focusing my attention on that. I attended classes at, "The Loft," A Place for Writers in Minneapolis. While there, a classmate of mine was having her friend from New York, a CBS executive, to her home for the holidays and asked me if she could do a critique on a couple chapters of a book I was writing, "A Day I'll Never Remember" and I obliged. When she returned to class the following Monday she told me that the exec wanted a ten-page synopsis of the book for a possible movie; I was excited. After obliging for that also, I never saw or heard from her or the guy from CBS. Next thing I knew I was watching a movie called, "Regarding Henry" starring Harrison Ford and the scenes of therapy were exactly like what I went through and had written about. Regarding Henry - could've been my story except that, "Henry" got his head injury from a gunshot and his wife stayed with him throughout the ordeal. Coincidence I'm sure, though, the therapy scenes entailed what I described in the book so I always wondered..... My hope, my dream is to bolster our income for my daughter and for myself. I am and have been raising this beautiful, talented little girl who was diagnosed with autism at age two, since 2006 singlehandedly. I divorced her mother the same year following complaints that I spent too much time with our daughter. However, Stephanie began school with no need for special education. She has been reading since age four and understanding what she'd read. Stephanie maintains straight "A's" on her report card, has published two books (through school) and has been selected as an, "Honors" student for seventh grade English. My ex moved to New York to be closer to her sister and has been remarried now for a number of years. Well, that's only a snippet of my sixty-one years and I would like to thank you for reading, thank you.

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