They were just two, tiny, 7-year-old boys on the school playground..their first day of the 2nd grade:)
Jack was skinny, with long flat hair that flapped around in his ocean blue eyes. He felt that his long hair was annoying, but his gramma said that his eyes, together with those bangs, made him devilishly handsome. He didn’t understand how being compared to the devil was a compliment. Jack was a tender heart, and as energetic as a firecracker!
Jamal was slightly shorter…nappy little hair, stubby hands, big brown eyes…always wide open, with a round face and chubby cheeks. An expression full of hope and wonder…the most natural smile Jack had ever seen.
Jack and Jamal saw each other’s color too…
that ball that flew past them like a rocket.
Oh man…their eyes instantly locked on target. Synchronized, tracking it in absolute harmony.
That fast-moving ball evoked in them, this primal, feverish excitement!
No hesitation, whatsoever…it had been a race to that ball from the very beginning… mouths wide open, smiling from ear to ear. Hadn’t said even one word yet, and they instinctively knew they’d just made best friends.
Fast…I mean FAST…the both of them!
No doubt that ball tore through the air like a bolt of lightning, but it was slowing down…one thing was for sure; no matter who won that race, that ball wasn’t getting away.
Moving at that kind of pure speed, it’s no wonder little Jack’s shoestring floated apart. Too long to begin with, the tail end got caught under the step of Jack’s moving foot, and WHAM, Jack was down..snatched straight out of the air! It wasn’t pretty, but it’d happened before…stupid shoestring! Why couldn’t he wear the ones with the Velcro?
Jamal looked back; Jack was down! He stopped his pursuit immediately.
“HEY!! Are you okay???” Jamal screamed across the field.
“GET IT!!!” Jack screamed frantically back.
Huge smiles from Jamal and he was off in a heartbeat!!
Jamal caught up to the ball…turned back toward Jack…back toward the mound of those big kids playing kick ball. And he was off…barely able to see past that big red ball! It was half his size…so funny, watching Jamal stumble his way back into the field…barely running straight lol. Off in the distance, someone screamed “INTERFERENCE” as Jamal was met by a Really Big Boy… 5th grade AT LEAST, he figured. “Give me the ball Stupid!!!”.
Jamal froze in fear, while the giant boy swept his arm downward like the paw of a tiger, mean and vicious, snatching it from Jamal’s hands in an instant. Then the giant boy spun around and ran off toward home plate.
Jamal had little time to experience that scare, as his new friend was now running toward him…he saw everything. “Are you okay??”, Jack said, halfway out of breath!
“Yeah! Are you okay??” Jamal responded.
“Yeah!” Jack puffed his chest out, showing how tough he was. Then Jamal just laughed, and Jack dropped his shoulders and bellied out a big laugh too. He didn’t know why; it must have been contagious. Then the bell rang…they stopped, looked each other right in the face, and suddenly they were off again…another race and they didn’t even know where the finish line was.
Every day they met at recess time… running…chasing…exploring. It was a whole week before they even asked each other’s names. Then, without hesitation or judgment…only curiosity, Jack asked, “Why are you so dark?” Jamal was from something his mom called the “inner-city” and this year there were inner-city kids coming to Jack’s school. Jamal wondered for a second, “I don’t know. Everyone here looks funny, like the people on TV.” Then they both burst out laughing!! They laughed at the same things always.
That was the last time in their school years they ever spoke about color. They never saw themselves as having a different sense of morality, or characteristically different in any meaningful way. There were times when they could have communicated about the issues in their worlds…but they were just kids, and they would pave a different, more progressive generation than the one their parents had left before them. In that belief, it was literally, nonstop buckets of fun with just a few dumb arguments here and there over who won a race. I mean, Jamal was definitely faster; but not when they went swimming…Jack was the champion, he figured. And back in those little days, they always cried a fit when their parents didn’t always let them spend the night. For some reason, Jack was never allowed to stay the night at Jamal’s, but Jack’s parents loved Jamal and treated him so fondly when he stayed the night at their place. Besides, Jack’s house was cool! He had a pool, and his own bedroom…cool toys. They played Transformers and GI Joes, and if Jamal was able to go over on Friday night, they could wake up early for Saturday morning cartoons, but only if they didn’t stay up too late watching Nickelodeon….or waiting to see Madonna’s tits on MTV (it never happened).
Things were different by High School…
This story will be told in 4 parts. When the 2nd part is release, the “Part 2” link below will be live.