12.14.2014 Journal Prompt

Photo by Roy DeCarava
Photo by Roy DeCarava

December 14, 2014: It was a kids’ game.

One Reply to “12.14.2014 Journal Prompt”

  1. It’s jus a game. A kids’ game, Bobby says. And he starts explainin the rules and sayin what is the point of the game. He draws a grid on the pavement and he scratches chalk numbers into the boxes he’s made. I ask him if it’s a countin game, cos I ain’t so good with numbers. Miss Carter at school, she says I get my times tables all mixed up in my head and she says I’m easily distracted. Miss Carter’s so bloomin pretty she can say no wrong. She’s got little girl diddies even though she’s a growed woman. And she wears a white blouse that is so thin you can see her clean white underwear through the cloth. ‘Tain’t no countin game exactly, Bobby says. It’s a hoppin and a throwin game. And he takes a flat stone and he shows me how it works. I don’t really see the point and I tell him as much. He says fun is the point and he offers me his stone so’s I can try. I get it wrong to start with and Bobby says it’s ok and that I’ll get better with practice. I ain’t so sure as if want to get better at it. Then Lucy from up the street, she stops and asks if she can play and Bobby says sure she can play, why not? Lucy’s really somethin. I kissed her once, a month back. Cost me three apples and a penny. I had to put my hands behind my back and I swore a promise to keep my lips pressed together so there was no tongues and I had to wipe my mouth with the back of my hand so there was no spit. Close up, Lucy smells of flowers and Pears coal tar soap, and her kiss tasted of peppermint. She tucks her skirt inside her pants and like that you can see she has the longest legs of any girl I know. Then she slides her stone easy onto the first square and she starts, hoppin on one leg to number two and then three. Then she hops and lands with one foot in each square of numbers four and five, hops and jumps and hops again. By then she’s at number nine and she hops into the air and turns like a dancer till she’s facin back the way she’s come, her hair flying about her in a whirl. Bobby looks across at me and he winks, like he’s maybe got a trick up his sleeve and which he thinks I understand, which I don’t. On the way back Lucy has to bend to pick up her stone again and then she’s back to the beginning and she turns and she starts over, this time shovin her stone to square number two. For a while all our concentration is on the game and on Lucy hoppin and jumpin and countin in a breathless song. Then Bobby speaks, his words all whisper and hiss. Winner gets a kiss, Bobby says, just slippin it out there when Lucy is in mid-leap. She don’t say nothin to that, and I see Bobby winkin at me again and grinnin wide as from ear to ear, wide like the cat what’s got the cream. Then suddenly I can see a point to playin and to gettin better and better and I try my hardest after that.

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