On The Way To School
by Nettie Bozanich

As a child, the snow would be piled high along the sidewalks.
I couldn't see over those mountains.
I'd walk to school through a tunnel-like path.
My big brother as my guide.

I was never scared.
Maybe because he was there to protect me.
He'd walk a few steps ahead.
Always looking back at me.
I can still recall the expression on his face when he'd turn to look.
It was concern mixed with a smile.

Carefully, I would place my tiny feet into his large prints.
I was somehow honoured to follow him --
To hear him laugh with his friends.
They were like a crowd of big brothers.
Always ahead of me but never leaving me behind.

Sometimes I'd have a friend with me.
We'd giggle too.
And sure that was fun.
But it was those times when I silently followed that I felt most special.

Being younger was never a matter of being less or 'uncool.'
It was a coveted place.
One where I was protected by the crystal snow mounds.
A gang of my brother's friends.
And most of all my big brother.

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