The leaves were tossed around, whipping this way and that by the breeze. She giggled as she watched the dancing leaves and twirled up onto her toes. She spun round and around, her light blonde braid swinging behind her, until she started to falter in her balance. The world continued to twirl around her despite her stopped movements. Maria smiled as her world came back into view. She looked up toward the warm sun, closing her eyes to avoid the brightness, and soaked the warmth into her cheeks. She adjusted her light jacket and ran toward the jungle gym, determined to finally slide down the pole and not be frightened by it. She climbed up the plastic, colorful steps and got to the long, jumping bridge. Maria stepped up to the edge and prepared herself to run across when another kid ran across it suddenly from the other end. He stopped in front of Maria, a wide smile on his face as he looked down at her. He was quite larger than her in both senses of the word. Maria opened her mouth to politely ask him to move, just like her mother had taught her, but before she had the chance to talk she was shoved. The boy pushed her so hard that she fell down, landing on her rump painfully. All that came out of her open mouth was a startled cry. She blinked up at the boy that had wronged her but his smile only deepened into a cruel smirk as he stared down at her. Ha, ha, he ridiculed and turned around to run back across the bridge. Frowning, Maria stood and rubbed at her sore bottom. She glanced at the other end of the bridge but the other kid continued to stand there, seemingly daring her to try and cross again. Maria didnt want to be pushed around again so she turned away and walked off the playground to go sit on the edge of the sandbox. She rubbed at her eyes as they started to water. Maria didnt want to cry because of some bully. Her parents had told her that bullies try to make littler kids cry; she didnt want to give him that satisfaction. And yet, a few tears streaked down her face, revealing how hurt she had been by the act. Maria? Said little girl looked up, startled to find someone standing over her, looking concerned. Whats wrong? Maria smiled up at her friend, Mika. Mika was a few years older than Maria, old enough to get her own allowance even. A bully pushed me down. Maria admitted sadly. Mika frowned and knelt down to Marias level, her face lighting up at her friend, urging her to smile back. Dont let that bully get you down. Hey, why dont I buy you an ice cream cone? Mr. Winters is going to close his cart down for fall after tomorrow. Mika offered as she stood up again, swinging on the toes of her tennis shoes. Okay, Maria grinned and grabbed Mikas hand as she held it out to her. They swung their hands as Mika ran toward the cart, Maria trying to keep up to the girls longer strides. Mika happily paid for two ice cream cones and even spent the extra quarter to get rainbow sprinkles. Maria knew Mika loved rainbow sprinkles; they matched the barrette she wore in her hair every day. Thanks, Mika. Maria smiled widely as she was handed the cone. Mika simply smiled in reply as she eagerly licked at the sweet treat. If my parents say its okay, do you wanna sleep over at my house tonight? Ill have to ask my dad but Id love to. Mika answered cheerfully. Come on, she tugged on Marias brown jacket and started to pull her in one direction. Lets go sit under the oak tree. Theres no shade cause the leaves havent grown back yet but thats okay. The suns warm and I wanna lean against the trunk. Mika grinned as she plopped onto the ground and did just as she said, resting against the large tree trunk. Maria smiled and sat down next to her. Youre my best friend, Mika. Maria suddenly declared, earning a surprised look from Maria. Mika ducked her head a little and licked at her ice cream, the sprinkles were starting to run down the side as it melted slightly. Youre my best friend too, Maria. Mika stated back. She fingered a daisy between them and continued to lick at her scoop. We better finish these before our parents get back; my dad didnt want me eating any extra sweets today. I wont tell, Maria promised, holding out her pinky. Mika grinned and wrapped her own pinky around the offered one. They shook on it and then the two raced to finish their treats as they basked in the warm sunlight, all thoughts of bullies forgotten.
Artist: Jordan Herbert
School: North Allegheny
A flashfiction piece written for ADV. Creative Writing 2009 Mr. Mooney.