Almost every day he walks past my house, this boy. He wears dark clothing, but his hair looks like it's making some attempt to be cheerful, the only part of him that is. His face is permanently set in a grim expression.
He's nearly always alone. The one exception is when I saw him with another boy-this one all gangly and tall-both with unhappy faces, neither one talking to the other.
I didn't pay any attention to him-he was just there, like the constant ticking of my clock or the feel of the braided rug turning into hardwood floor under my feet-until my mom remarked, “I don't know about that boy. I wonder if he comes from an unhappy home. He's always walking around by himself.”
And just like that, I couldn't not notice him. I longed to talk to him, ask him where he was going. He was so close-only a glass window and a screen kept me from running out, falling into step next to him, and saying, “I'm Lizzie.”
That boy doesn't walk past my house anymore.