Innocence

courthouse

Men in black and grey suits stood on the street corner across from the stone white courthouse checking their phones and watches. Rays of sunlight streaming over the peaks of the mountains ricocheted off the curved glass windows. The walk light blinked on. The dong of the clock tower sounded 8:45 am. I stepped off the curb tugging my rolling briefcase behind me.  It rumbled across the red brick crosswalk. My hand tightens around the handle as I step over the train rails and pull my briefcase across.

A few steps from the curb, a boy and girl hand in hand rounded the corner. A smile tickled the corner of my mouth and erupted in my eyes. So young. So innocent. To me, they are perfect and out of place.  They weren’t be more than fourteen years old.

His brown hair was short with a rounded neckline.  He wore a light blue button down short sleeve shirt with flecks of sea green, untucked from his khaki shorts that hung below his knees.  My smile widened to impossible depths when I noticed he was wearing almond dress shoes with black laces, no socks.

She wore a white short-sleeved dress decorated with crimson poppies that hung just below her knees.  Her brown hair swept past her shoulders and fluttered at her elbows. She had rouge on her cheeks and light blue eye shadow, makeup that was wrapped in pink princess wrapping paper for her birthday.

Despite it being late summer, both are pale skinned without any tan lines. Not sickly pale, but pale as innocence, one who has not been burned by the world passing around them.  Christmas morning fills their expressions as they glance around and at one another.

It’s a full court calendar this morning, a parade of what goes wrong in children’s lives drugs, violence, poverty, and worse. I watch the two cross the road away from white stone of the courthouse.  Locking their image away safe in my mind, I drag my case files up the ramp to the revolving door. I lift my briefcase up on the conveyer belt to go through security.

People in front of me set off the security sensors, but I don’t. I’ve been through it too many times. Nodding to the police officers, I set my briefcase on the floor and pull out the handle to its full length. It clicks out a familiar rhythm as I cross the marble tiled floor to the stairs.

I lean to the left to offset the weight of the briefcase as I climb the stairs to the second floor.

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