Mario Villalobos

Freeze!

Chalk art from last week that has since been washed away by the rain

“Freeze!”

I looked up and saw Aubrey and her big smile looking up at me. I froze and watched her grab my hand. She closed it into a fist, then grabbed my thumb and stuck it out. She grabbed my other hand and did the same thing. I stood there frozen in place with both my thumbs out, and I heard Gunner laugh behind her.

“Now stand like this,” Aubrey said. She stood on one leg. I did the same, and all the kids around us started to laugh. I must’ve looked ridiculous, but I didn’t care.

“Okay, you can unfreeze now,” Aubrey told me.

I did as she commanded and went on my way, a silly smile on my face.


Ashley, another of Aubrey’s classmates, is afraid of me. I’m not sure why, but every time she sees me, she freezes in place, as if she thinks I can’t see her if she doesn’t make a sound. Lately, when other kids see me walking around, they yell, “Ashley! Mario!” and Ashley looks around and freezes in place once she sees me. Other times, she falls on the floor and plays dead. All I can do is laugh because I have no idea what else to do.

Last week, some of the kids started to shield her with their bodies and say things like, “Nothing to see here,” or “Ashley isn’t here.” I laugh and say, “I see nothing,” and continue on my way.

I find all of this so adorable and weird and nonsensical that it has made my life that much richer, and sometimes I can’t wait until recess just to see what these silly kids do next.