The Chalk Outline

Amanda Bussman
6 min readJul 27, 2021
Photo by Frederico Almeida on Unsplash

“I almost wish you’d fall” she could bet that the woman with the silver hair who’d watched them walk out of the grocery store would have scowled had she heard the sentence that had just come out of the young black boy’s mouth. The wish that she’d stumble and fall from her tight rope walk along the ledge of the library’s high walk, down onto the broken and cracked sidewalk. Instead, it was a remark that made the slightest quirk happen to the corner of Avery's mouth.

Of course, he wished that.

“Sorry to disappoint you, babe” the lightest sigh dropped between them as he hung his head, the silver chain around his neck catching the light as she stared at him.

“You kill me miss vee.” pressing the pads of her fingertips against her lips she blew him a kiss. The best she could do.

“One day you’re gonna let me do it, you know. one day”.

He wished.

Maybe one day she wouldn’t know that the gentlemen that rang them out at the market would go home to find out that his wife’s lung cancer had returned. or that the woman they’d passed on the bus had just come from a doctor’s appointment confirming that the child she and her husband had spent both of their retirement funds on was no more.

Maybe one day she wouldn’t know things that would cause him to feel the pain of the universe.

“Think here’s good?” the streetlights gave the darkened street a little bit of light as she stopped her steps and pointed in the direction of the old parking lot. the church was pretty much abandoned. It had been for as long as Avelyn could remember walking past it.

“I don’t think anyone even remembers it exists, Squeak. good’a place as any”.

Hopping off of the ledge and landing perfectly on her feet she watched as he shook his head again. A brief disappointment.

“Gimme the goods” she motioned as he once again shook his head at her antics and yet held the plastic bag out for her anyway. “get on the ground Mr. Anders” a cheeky smile came out with her command and he shook his head at her one final time before flipping his hood up and laying down on the hard cement.

“You’re so weird Squeak,” he should have known by now that that was a compliment.



Amanda Bussman

If you're looking for a writing coach and someone who is working through generational trauma, you've come to the right place. OH! I hope you like Taylor Swift!