The neighborhood boys
The neighborhood boys were a questionable lot, with their greasy hair and skateboards. I used to watch them after school, as they flew by, flashing like lightening, laughing and throwing things at each other. My mother always warned me; “Stay away from those boys, they are nothing but trouble” as she straightened my blouses after school, ready for the next day. I used to watch them from my desk as I answered math puzzles, wondered where they were going, what they would do once they got there, and had they already done their puzzles?
One day, my mother did not answer the doorbell when I arrived home. I sat outside the house, on the veranda, and pulled out a book to read while I waited for her red car to pull into the gravel drive. Minutes ticked by, I counted each on my wristwatch when my book ran out of chapters. I succumbed to the boredom that took me over once I realized it was going to be a while before I was let indoors, and with a sigh, opened my book. Page 59, the one with the boy picking flowers for the girl he liked. I wondered if I would ever have flowers picked for me.
In the midst of a world filled with dandelions and roses, I heard them. Their cheery laughter, the sound of worn plastic wheels on smooth tarmac. They flew past my house, a group, ever changing. Flashes of blonde, brown and red, freckled and fair, olive and dark. I watched them go, as my mother’s voice rang in my ears. Curiosity was somehow louder. I glanced at the space my mother’s car usually occupied, and then up at the tarmac, then back up as the last boy flew by. Suddenly, a yelp and the sound of stopping wheels. I tossed my book down and ran up the driveway, to find the last of the neighborhood boys on the ground, clutching his foot, his friends merely speckles in the distance, disappearing with the road. I stood, a meter back and watched him as he began to try to stand.
“Hello, are you hurt?” I asked, curious. He jumped and clutched the left side of his chest.
“You gave me a fright!” He exclaimed. “I've hurt my ankle.”
I stared at him, and he stared back.
“I’ve been locked out of my house or I would fetch you some ice.”
“Oh, I should be okay.” He said, starting to get up. He had a rip in his knee of his jeans. I stared at it.
“Does your mother not tell you off?” I questioned him.
“No, does yours?” He asked, brown eyes soft and curious.
“Yes. I once had a ladder in my tights and sent to bed with no dinner.”
The boys eyes widened. A red car appeared in the distance, driving towards the little house with the driveway. It slowed as it approached the two children.
“Julia, get in the house.” The woman inside said, stern. I nodded, and looked at the boy. The car began to drive away.
“I’ve got to go.” I said. The boy started on his way.
“Nice to meet you Julia!” He said, on his way back down the road. I yelled after him.
“Wait! Where do you go?”
“The skatepark of course!” He yelled back.
“Have you done your puzzles?” I called after him.
But the neighborhood boy was gone.