New Boy

images-4Nora has her pal, Nodin, here to play after school. Nora and Nodin are gregarious charming eight year olds who seem to be quite popular. (This is a bit of a mystery to all of us parents. We were all geeks in school as far as I know, ol’ skinny legs Ravensbergen and Fat Frangione and little Kopsa who got beat up for being swarthy…maybe James was cool…but I doubt it. He’s a brainiac…)


Nora decides to include the new boy in the game of tag they’re playing. The new boy’s chest immediately expands, his face breaks open with joy, he can’t believe he’s included. He’s very pale and toothy and his Dad is the obese bearded man who sits on the park bench furthest from the other parents. I say hello to the Dad. He barely nods and speaks immediately out to his boy to divert any possible conversation.


They decide to move their tag to the swings and Nora is sitting sideways with the swing between her legs, lolling back and forth. Nodin is having none of this discomfort and wisely zooms off to the zip line, saying “Nah, see ya!”.


But little new boy will do anything Nora asks. He gets on the swing sideways and then scuttles backwards and releases, so he’s swinging sideways towards Nora. She giggles and grabs him and throws him back even harder. This action causes the little boy to go “ow” “ow” “ow” with every forward swing. I must intervene before he does damage to his goods. He’s clearly in exquisite pain.


photo by Lisa Ravensbergen

“Nora, try playing another kind of tag because this one is…well…it’s easier for a girl’s…hips…to swing that way….” She looks at me bemused, tilts her head, then scoots off to the salad spinner. “Come on!”


The little boy looks at me with toothy relief, gets gingerly off the swing, adjusts, and then runs runs runs after that girl…that girl that is one foot taller than him…that girl with the long flying ringlets…that girl who is oblivious to his pleasure and oblivious to his pain. That girl who calls him friend.

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