Iesha

1993

I was 10 when we first met. I was sitting quietly on the swing rocking back and forth minding my own business and then she showed up. This chubby golden brown skin girl with a head full of hair. It was beaded like most of the girls but it looked different on her. Softer.

“Do you want me to push you?” She asked with the usual black girl attitude. I guess she was mad because I was just sitting there and not rocking. I was used to the sassy black girl attitude so it didn’t bother me.

“Yeah, you can if you want.” I mumbled. I didn’t know who she was or what she wanted but I was glad to have some company. It gets hard sitting around trying to blend in with the other kids. I already had a lot of stuff going on at home I didn’t want to have to deal with bullshit at school too.

“What’s your name?” she asked as she pushed me hard on the swing. She was smacking a piece of gum. It normally bothered me when people smack gum but when she did it, it had a nice rhythm.

“My name is Dominic, What’s your?” I asked. I haven’t been at the school long and I wasn’t looking to make any friends. I could never invite them over to play but I could at least have someone to hang out with while I was at school.

She giggled. “My name is Iesha. Are you new here? I ain’t never seen you before.”

“Yeah,” I admitted, “I haven’t been here long. My family and I just moved in the area.” I said. I didn’t want to give her too much information about where I lived. All she needed to know was that I was new. I didn’t need to many people in my business.

“Oh” she continued to push me on the swing.

We sat silently as she pushed and smacked on her gum, I pumped my feet in the air.

“Can you stop pushing so hard?” I asked. She was starting to get on my nerves with all the pushing as if she’s trying to push me off the swing.

“Oh, I’m sorry.” She said with a sad face. She stopped pushing me and sat in the swing next to me. I didn’t mean to hurt her feelings but I just wanted her to stop pushing me. I felt like she was trying to push me to fly.

“I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings. You were just pushing too hard.” I said feeling bad I hurt the feelings of the first person I met.

“It’s ok.” She stated with a smile as she looked at me. It looked like she was missing one of her teeth. I lost all my baby teeth when I was in 3rd grade, I didn’t realize you could still lose teeth in the 5th grade. She was so cute.

“Iesha, do you have any more gum? I want a piece please.”

“Here you go” she said as she reached into her pocket and pull out a pack of Fruit Stripe gum and handed me a piece.

“Thanks.”

“Now you’re my boyfriend.” She giggled

I looked at her confused because I had no idea what she was talking to. I didn’t know if this was something new or not. I didn’t talk to many of the people at my old school so maybe this was something all the girls did.

Iesha could sense my confusion so she explained, “If a guy ask you for gum then that means he likes you and want to be your boyfriend.” She smiled.

“How did you come up with that?” I asked not knowing what she was talking about.

“That’s what my Auntie Priscilla told me. So now you are my boyfriend.”

“What does that mean?” I asked. I felt she was talking in circles. I didn’t know much but I knew being boyfriend and girlfriend meant more than just sharing gum.

“That means you get to do whatever I tell you to do and I’ll keep giving you my gum.”

“Ummmm. Ok”

“And… I get to kiss you.” She leaned over and kissed me on my cheek. I didn’t know what to say or do. I was surprise. I haven’t had anyone show affection to me in years and to get it from someone I didn’t know was overwhelming.

She smiled then ran off with a group of girls laughing as her braids blew in the wind.

I wasn’t sure what just happened but I knew I would always love Iesha, the girl with the curly beaded hair.