© 2012 Aaron Atkinson StopLight

Go Light

Me: I’m not going to make it!

Mom: We’re almost home. You can hold it.

Me: No I caaaaaan’t. I have to peeeeee!

Mom: You’re okay. Just cross your legs and think about something else.

She was right. We were almost home. But I was seven and I’d been holding it for so long already.

We were driving home from the grocery store on a sunny Spring afternoon. It was a four minute drive. Easily holdable. But I’d been walking around the grocery store for three quarters of an hour already having to go, and my situation had now reached stage critical. Red flashing alarm beacons were blaring in my mind. My abdomen ached in that stretched balloon kind of way. My shorts were fitting a little too snugly and even that slight pressure almost tipped the balance towards an accident.

Two minutes from home. I wasn’t going to make it.

There was one stoplight between our house and Zehrs grocery store.

I opened the eyes I had been squinting in a vain attempt to think about something else. As I looked through the windshield the streetlight up ahead shone a mocking shade of red. If that light stopped our progress, even for a moment, I was done for.

We proceed closer and closer and still it held fast. Mom’s foot had shifted from the gas pedal to the brake.

In that moment I made a deal with the unlit bulb at the bottom stoplight. If it were to glow green, allowing our unimpeded progress, I would repay it’s favor by calling green my favorite color for the rest of my days….

She was right. We were almost home. I did hold it.

And my favorite color? Not forest, not sage, not grass or lime or ivy or hunter. Since that fateful day my number one favorite color has been stoplight green. Or, as the boy who almost peed his pants would say, go light green.

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