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Brave Heart

Slice of Life 20:

Spring sunshine reminds me of flowery things.

delicately buttered daffodils, wafts of blushing bubble gum scented cotton candy, light and whimsical, brilliant sailboats gliding on glittered waves of sapphire, spiraling streams of glistening rainbows. Among other things.

I think of brightness and light, freshness and bloom. Spring is hopeful. It’s young and full of promise. It takes me back to the days of innocence, to second grade, to Billy.

I went to Catholic school. I had a blue and red plaid jumper. He wore navy pants and a powdered blue polyester polo. When he spoke, a little whistle would escape through the vacancy of his front tooth. His sandy hair was cut short with a pronounced cowlick that rose like a cascading wave from left temple to mid brow, overshadowing bright blue eyes and olive skin.

Our young, second year teacher, Mrs. Murphy, sat us across from one another at our assembled table of six manila desks. I knew Billy. We had been friends since we had Mrs. Stillman last year. Our older sisters were best friends. At their baseball games, we would run in the shade under the trees of Kennedy Park; laughing and out of breath, with matching pink Kool-Aid mustaches.

Until dear Mrs. Murphy assigned us across from one another, Billy was my pal. I don’t recall when the initial seed was planted, but on one of those hazy school days in second grade, my feelings underwent a metamorphosis. A new feeling arose. It began to bloom.It blossomed. I no longer saw Billy as a “pal.” I began to hold on to every whistled word he spoke. I gazed at him with wonderment. I took notice how fast he sped on the playground, dodging other boys with agility and grace. How he drank from his milk carton, his brown loafers, what kind of sandwich his mom packed for him, how he always was picked to take messages to the office. No detail was lost.

Recognizing this shift of seasons, I decided to make a move. I would be bold. I would be brave.

Mrs. Murphy stood at the board in her pale yellow sweater. Her denim skirt sweeping the floor as she modeled writing the cursive M. I sat anxiously in my chair, waiting for the right moment. Billy’s gaze was fixed on his paper. His crooked tongue clasping his right cheek.


He keeps working.

“Psst. Pssst…” I whispered again daintily.


“HEY,” in a forceful hush.

Mrs. Murphy turns and gives a cautionary stare accompanied by a grin. I meet her stare and sheepishly smile.

I look back to my paper, and my gaze rebounds back up to Billy. He’s looking at me, a little puzzled. Here it is. My moment.

I raise my hands and make a heart silhouette, “Hi Billy…” The sheer essence of the heart is holding the vast expanse of this seven year old’s true love and affection. Hanging in the crux…

He winces.

I hold it. My lone eye peeping through the makeshift declaration which was my heart shaped hands.

He winces even harder, “Ahhh.. no..”

Finally, I allow my hands to retreat.

Objectively, one might perceive my bold, brave declaration a failure. I was rejected. Billy was repulsed. Do you know what I did? Laughed. I giggled and announced, “Yes.” Laughing.

Laughter is a hopeful stream. Crisply rebounding, riding the current. Refreshing and flowing on into the big deep.

This innocence is Spring. Light and bright. Freshness and bloom.

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