A Picture Is Worth…


“Don’t come any closer.”

I paused. He’s just a kid.  How did he get through those two biometric doors?

“I don’t want to do this, but I will.”

“I don’t want you to do this either,” I responded. “Let’s talk.” I was relieved. Usually I’m the one who has to initiate conversation. This kid wants to talk. “My name’s Antonio,” I said. “What’s yours?”

“My uncle was named Antonio.”

Ouch? Good coincidence? Bad one? I kept going. “Antonio’s a pretty common name. In fifth grade, I had another kid with my name.”


 “So, what’s your name?” asking again.

“Miguel.” He turned as he said it.

Oh, God. He’s not over twelve years old. I took several deep breaths to calm myself. “Miguel, you must be a very bright young man. This place is not easy to access.” What do I talk to this kid about?

“Miguel De La Rosa. Fourteen.” My com finally sounded. “Admitted four days ago. Suicide attempt. Antonio was his uncle. Marine. Afghanistan. Recently deceased. Suicide. Recipient of three Purple Hearts. Miguel has a mother and three younger brothers.” Finally some info on this kid. “We’ll keep listening.”  Up to this point I had been running on empty. “He likes sports.”

“Miguel,” I inched closer. “How ‘bout stepping down off the safety wall. Let’s sit and talk. It’s right windy up here and it’s hard for me to hear.” I stepped closer. Miguel seemed not to notice. Now near the parapet, I sat. “I’ve got two boys. Rafael’s probably a little younger than you. He plays soccer. You into soccer?”

Carefully I reached into my back pocket and pulled my wallet. Opening it, I flipped to the pictures of my boys.  

Miguel stepped from the wall and sat by me.

I think this one’s a win.

Written for Secret Attic Weekly Write: Dialogue Starters.

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