I was driving downtown on the way back from lunch this afternoon when I spotted this kid. He was walking on the sidewalk about 300 feet ahead of me. Long white t-shirt with khakis. About 15 or 16 years old. Beautiful, deep brown skin, hair shaved close to his scalp.
I immediately knew where he was going. I wanted to be wrong, but knew I was right when he turned around. Our eyes met. He looked down, trying to shake my gaze. I was still looking at him when he looked back up. His hands were in fists. His jaw was clenched. He seemed so "angry." Ready to lash out at anyone. I wanted to pull my car over and give this kid a hug. I could almost picture myself embracing him and him bursting into warm, uncontrollable tears.
At the light I looked over and saw his destination. The local parole office with an "Out to lunch" sign. What's happened in his short life that would lead him to a parole office on a beautiful May afternoon. It's school hours. Shouldn't he be there? Why wasn't he sitting in some math class learning about tangents and cosines? Why wasn't in the halls of SHS goofing off with his homeboys at his locker? Where was his smile? How long had it been since had something to smile about?
My imagination tends to run away with me. I don't know why he was visiting. I have no idea. Maybe he wasn't going to check in. Maybe he was going there on other business. What business could a kid have at a parole office, though?