My kids go round the block. My daughter to her friend’s place. Within sight. Within earshot. But sometimes she goes left instead of right. A shortcut that eliminates 67 steps.
My boy rides his bicycle to Bay View to play basketball. He runs too. From our street, up 1st, to Ripley, to 2nd and back home. They have been out and about in this neighborhood for ten years. Playing, walking, skipping.
I know where some sex offenders live. Everybody that wants to know can. The ones that register their whereabouts, anyway. They can be seen on a map. I have advised the kids areas to avoid. Reminded them time and time again to not believe anyone that approaches them. To kick them in the nuts. Bite. Pull hair. Scream. To run. Run as fast as they can from whomever it may be.
Recently, a man approached children at the bus stop a block from our place. He wanted to give kids a ride to school, even though he was on foot. My kids don’t ride the bus. I drive my son. My wife drives my daughter. But the kids that were there were in danger. The bus came. He left. But people didn’t forget. It was reported. And he was arrested.
He may be out on bail tonight.
Sitting in his home.
I can see his place from here.
My wife is out with her girlfriends, celebrating Christmas.
My daughter is at her friend’s house.
My son is at the in-laws.
I am sipping a drink. Watching our Christmas tree. Loving this time of year. The lights. The warmth. Remembering where I am from. How hard people worked and sacrificed so that I could be here. Happy and safe. Strong. Very much aware that there are people waiting to take it all away.
And I consider taking a walk. Bundled up. Around the neighborhood. Stopping, only once—for as long as it takes—to improve my kids’ chances of success.
He wouldn’t see it coming.
I’d make it as quick and painless as possible. I’d be saving him, really.
And that’s what this season is about, right?