He was just a boy. Just a boy playing on the steps of the old brick house on Petersen Street before a football game. The wall that held the stairs in place wasn’t wide like the open spaces at Grandma’s house, but wide enough to step with one foot then the other. So he did, this boy, step stepped across the wall, waiting for dad to call him in for the kickoff.
Before the game, in his quarterback jersey, the wall wobbled and shook, but not slow like the beginning of an earthquake. Not little by little more movement, with time to spare, extra time to jump off the wall and get away. No, all at once the wall trembled and fell, the boy with and inside of it. Did he shout out for help? Dad ran outside. Dad saw the boy pinned beneath the bricks and dug him out. The ambulance came, drawing folks from their Sunday homes with its lights and the ruckus. Momma was crying, saying my boy, oh my boy.
The kickoff missed the boy while he rode in the ambulance. He wore his jersey at the hospital and threw angry words at the nurses. His team won the game, but he never saw a play. The boy’s broken legs healed and he grew. And no one ever stopped to fix the wall.