She saw the top of his blonde head first. His hair blew to one side of his face as he exited the school along with about twenty of his classmates. He thoughtlessly flipped his hair to one side as he continued to talk to his best friend walking alongside him.
She tensed. She hated this part. She knew he was old enough to navigate the parking lot without her, but her mother instinct kicked in – she wanted to take his hand and guide him safely back to her car.
Something was wrong. She sat up straighter and narrowed her eyes. He was limping.
Most of the other kids ignored him, but a few of the “tougher” ones watched him and snickered. One boy, slightly bigger than her son, actually pushed him, said something, then laughed. The other kids, not wanting to appear uncool, but clearly uncomfortable with the situation, began fading away in the background, leaving her son, his friend and the bully on center stage and clearly visible on the sidewalk.
She watched as her son mouthed something at the bully and then calmly walked across the cross walk.
“What’s wrong? Why are you limping?” she asked as soon as he opened the door.
“Too much marching,” he replied. “Don’t worry about it.”
“What’s that one kid’s problem?”
To her surprise, he laughed. “That kid? He’s a dork.”
“But,” she began; he held up a hand.
“I can handle it, mom.” He grinned at her.
She grinned back.
Fiction under 250 words.