There’s a boy I see every morning when I send David to school.
He always comes alone, late. He’s pretty lanky and tall, with floppy hair, and he always looks down, never at us. The bell has rung, but he’s slowly shuffling along the pavement towards the other gate – the “late” gate.
It makes me wonder, what’s his story?
I’ve been sending and picking up David to and from school for over a year now, and I can’t quite remember when I started to notice The Boy. But he’s not the only familiar face.
There have been others we’ve seen over the months. Parents walking with their kids, helpers chasing their young charges. A few with dog in tow. Some arriving on scooter or bike, others on foot. Parents and children saying goodbye, and the daily scene of hugs and kisses at the gate.
But what I remember most are the stragglers, those who intentionally don’t rush for the gate, a handful who come and go alone. Some with downcast faces and slow steps, one who’s always laughing with a friend and not at all concerned about being late for class.
Daryl skips and shouts with joy when he spies his friend Leya, his daily dose of morning happiness. My friend and I catch up on the day that has passed, or sit and watch our younger two play. And the stragglers, they walk on by.
One day, I tell myself, I’ll find out his name. One day, I’ll give her a flower to bring with her to school.
But that one day hasn’t come yet.
So I’m penning this post to remind myself that I need to remember. To look for these faces that pass by, and not see them as strangers or just “one more child”, but to recognise that they are one of our community, with a story to tell.
To say hi and smile, at the very least, and to make that one day happen. One person at a time, one day at a time. Little conversations, baby steps.