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the Guard

   a young man, a lifeguard at the pool
   stands in front of the office door
   as if to guard it so no one gets in
   or maybe to guard it so no one gets out
either way
   he stands with a towel in his hand
   a tight grip keeping it balled up
   as if something is being hidden inside
   or something is being guarded inside
just like the office

   a lady comes over to the door
   she needs to get in and grab some paper work
   the guard asks her to be quick
   as she walks in she sees a boy
he's watching tv
   this young boy sits on the couch
   he watches tv silently
   she asks what he is doing in the office
   and the guard tells her that he is in trouble
or he's going to be

   the other guards start to talk
   they don't know what is going on
   but the manager knows it is very important
   and she trusts the guard
just enough
   they all saw him walk to the playground
   they all saw he walk back to the office
   he had the boy with him on his way back
   along with the towel he won't let go
why won't he let it go

   on her way to the concession stand
   the guard asks another to get him some water
   she makes a joke but he doesn't laugh
   he asks her for some water again
she says ok
   she brings the water back and hands it to him
   he says thanks and returns to his post
   on guard at the office door
   no one leaves, no one enters
except one woman

   she pulls her car up to the no parking zone
   another guard tells her she needs to move
   but the one guard says it's ok
   and they enter into the office
with the boy
   they are in there for a while
   apparently they are all talking
   you could hear something from the other side of the window
   but not enough to make out what's going on
but they are talking

   they talk for about an hour
   during which time the shift changes
   but the guards don't leave
   they want to know what is going on
in that office
   just as some decide they'll find out later
   the door slowly opens up
   the boy walks out first with teary eyes
   he wipes his reddened face and sniffles a little bit
he must have cried

   a minute later the woman walks out
   she too has teary eyes and a red face
   but she has a different feel about her
   as she holds her purse in close to her
guarding it
   the lifeguard also has a different feel about him
   he no longer holds the towel in his hand
   he walks, now without weight, with the woman and boy to the car, 
   the woman holds the boy close and he does not resist
they are going home

   he walks back to the office
   and asks the person at the PA to call the manager
   he must now talk to her about what happened
   so she comes to the office
and they talk
   the other lifeguards begin to leave again
   when the manager comes back out of the office
   followed by the lifeguard
   they whisper a bit and he grabs his bag
so he can leave

   he walks to his car, gets in slowly, starts it up
   and he then drives off toward home
   the rest of the lifeguards ponder what must have happened
   but the manager tells them it was really nothing
at least for them to worry about
   so they all drive home for the day
   most take off down the road in one direction
   but one of them has to go the other way
   she passes the lifeguard who's on the side of the road
crying

 

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