Yesterday, I took Ruby and a friend to the park. We decided on the playground where the girls attend school. We weren’t going to stay long. We had about an hour. Nobody else was there; they had the whole place to themselves. They ran around, chasing each other. Ruby’s friend climbed to the top of the monkey bars and walked across. Ruby isn’t there yet. She went down the slide and maneuvered her way around the crossbars. They raced little plastic water bottle tops in the covered area when they got too hot. They played a version of cops and robbers.
After a little while, two little boys rode up on scooters. They were about 9 or 10, I would guess, both slightly built with short brown hair. One wore a helmet and glasses; the other did not. They took over the play structure with the slides and tunnels. The girls moved onto other activities. Boys have cooties, ya know.
I sat on a bench in the sun. The clouds had finally burned off. It had been the pattern for the last few weeks to have morning clouds that burn off at say 2:00 p.m, possibly later. We never reach our projected highs of near-80 degrees. Instead, we settle for something closer to 70. I’m not complaining, but I have a hard time getting warm on days like that. Still rocking the hoodies. I took off my sweatshirt and basked a little in the sun’s warmth. I watched the puffy clouds move out like so many enormous sheep. I spotted one shaped like a UFO.
All of a sudden, I heard the boys yelling behind me.
“I don’t know why I’m even friends with you. You’re always a jerk!” one of them spouted.
I didn’t turn around. But I couldn’t hear any more talking. One, or both of them, had left.
I watched the girls play with the now-empty tetherball poles. They tried to climb them, but I made them put their shoes back on. Broken glass hurts your feet. No bloody playtime on my watch.
Suddenly, I heard a voice.
“There’s a debit card here on the ground”, a voice said.
I turned around.
The boy with glasses was addressing me, as I was the only other person within sight. Not to mention the only adult.
“It’s not mine,” I replied. I didn’t even take my purse out of the car. I did lock my car, however. I’m not an idiot.
The boy, still wearing his helmet, stooped and picked it up. His neon yellow high-tops glowed in the late afternoon shade.
“It has a name on it,” I helped from my perch.
“It says Diana Prince,” he said. He paused, considering. “I should take it into the school.” A handful of cars lurked in the front lot. Somebody must be inside.
Somehow, he had both scooters. Must’ve been some fight. I watched him walk both of them out of the fenced area, holding the green debit card in one hand as he did so. Discovering this as unwieldy, he put down both scooters and ran back into the enclosure.
He came towards me at a trot.
“Maybe you could take it to the credit union for me instead. ” He pleaded at me with brown eyes.
“Sure.” It was my credit union, too. No trouble for me to turn it in.
“But I’m sure she’s cancelled it by now, if she’s discovered it missing.” Having a little bit of experience in these matters, I knew something.
The boy smiled, his eyes kind. He had a light dusting of freckles on his nose. He walked off doubletime with the scooters.
As soon as he was gone, the other boy burst out of the bushes. He’d been hiding from his friend. He ran off in the same direction.
As I rounded up the girls to go to the bank and then home, I considered this exchange. I looked up into the bright blue sky. The saucer-shaped cloud was long gone. I don’t know who started the fight or what it was about. All I know is the brown-eyed bespectacled boy is no jerk.