Overnight the rains came and with it howling winds. The hopscotch board was washed out into a bevy of colors. All her hard work and tenacity running thin across the blacktop. She stood over it. No lines could really be seen. She would have to remember the wondrous day in her mind only. The storms have passed and she basks in the sun almost spread eagle on the grass. There is a hint of wetness deep in the soil, but Sam does not mind. She loves feeling the sun on her face. It fuels her. The warmth coddles her in a way no one else seems to.
Wandering the streets led her to this spot this morning. She can’t remember having an intention to comes as she figured there would be no hopscotch to be played today. Down in the recesses of her heart she knew why she was there. She was hoping to see Alex. He is the first person, near her age, to take any interest in her in a long while. Plus, he was just fun. She had no way of knowing if he would appear like he did last time. He came along out of nowhere, much to her delighted surprise. Sam was used to playing alone. Though she always welcomed guests.
She flipped from her back to her stomach. This way she could see in all directions. It was probably a long shot he would come waltzing by, but she was willing to wait just a bit longer. The day, like every day, was hers to explore. Sometimes she wished for a dog. She’d even take a cat, though that was a last resort. A built in playmate would make life grand. Sadly, this was not the case. Her family could not afford to take care of a dog, and Sam would need assistance she would not receive. If there was one thing about Sam, she was realistic.
In the summer months, daylight was never ending. The world was her oyster. The small town streets offered safety and routine. This was a blessing and a curse. Sam fancied herself an explorer. But her hometown quickly quieted that fire. There simply wasn’t that much to explore. She had been to the train tracks, climbing in and out of cars. She had been to the river bank on the opposite end of town swinging from trees. She snuck into the movies once. She sat and watched the old men play chess in the park and franticly punch a clock. Oh and her claim to fame was trying to climb the old water tower. Nobody witnessed this, so she’s not really famous. But, Sam feels it just the same.
As she laid in the grass she wondered what there was left to do? Just as her eyes were closing and she was giving in to her small body being tired, she felt a strong kick at her heels. There Alex stood. Of course he creeped up behind her. Standing directly over her he seemed bigger than before. He called her chicken little.
She immediately stood up, not wanting to be fully at his mercy. But, he just smiled at her. Asked her where she’s been. She said everywhere and nowhere. Sam had heard her mother say that once. For some reason she wanted to appear older around Alex. She couldn’t help but smile back. He opened his backpack and gave her a can of soda. He also gave her a hotdog wrapped up in foil. It looked ravaged from bouncing around in the pack as he walked. She took a bite and said thank you with her mouth full. Alex could barely understand her words, but understood what she was trying to say. He had planned to find chicken little again. There was something special about her that tugged at his heart, but he didn’t know that at the time.
Sam never knew hotdogs could taste so good. She folded up the foil and threw it at Alex. It hit him in the head. He didn’t laugh. He stood up and walked briskly towards Sam. She began to cower. What had she done? Alex approached her, gently pushed her to the ground and began to tickle her. Much like a big brother would. She groaned in delight. A true surprise.