The Neighborhood Kids

There’s a reason why I stray away from the idea of “best friends”, and would much rather refer to my good friends as the “close ones”. In my years as an elementary kid, I was everything but shy and reserved; I was constantly the one cracking jokes and laughing until snot came shooting out my nose. So, as you can see, it wasn’t so hard for me to develop a group of friends or the “neighborhood gang” to be exact. And through these friends and one crazy summer, I discovered Kelly and Jessica. Two people who would eventually become the “best friends” of  my sister and I.

Growing up in a community with gates and all, it wasn’t too hard to convince my grandparents to let my sister and I out. And in the summer, during the hours before the sun dipped, we spent our time playing hide and seek in the little park that was our “territory”. Day after day, you could hear voices after voices of kids shrieking or screaming in sheer happiness as we tagged each other, trying to unfreeze another, or running to the safety zones. When we all got bored of that, and the sun was boring down our backs, we would fill water bottles from home and turn the our typical slide into a water slide. And when we’ve exhausted our imagination and needed a dose of energy, everyone would bring a little treasure from home and trade it in. By the end of each day, it was pretty fulfilling to know that all of us in a way had a little piece of each other.

During the heat of the summer, when the sun was unbearable and that all drove us indoors. My sister and I became especially close with Jessica and Kelly. As their mom was nice and all, we were constantly invited over to enjoy homemade popsicles and whatever her idle hands would make. At this

point, I considered Kelly more than just friend, she was my “best friend” and I was hers. But despite the sweetness of the popsicles coating my tongue, the aftertaste of bitterness lingered- but I didn’t know why.

Just as Kelly and I developed our friendship, so did Jessica and my sister. They had become so close that whatever we had was theirs and vice versa. But one day, a book that my sister had borrowed and lost soon triggered feelings of jealousy and despise between the two of them. I, being too young to understand, sided with my sister while Kelly with hers. Soon, what might have been a little misunderstanding blew up into gossip among the kids in the neighborhood. And of course, my sister and I were at the center of it.

After maybe a week of being tossed around as the “bad” kids and being shunned from the group, my sister and I threw in a backhanded move by visiting the sisters’ mom. There we went, taletelling on the sisters for “bullying” us with mean words and adding in details from previous mischief for emphasis. And oh boy did Jessica and Kelly get in trouble because the next few days, you can bet that they were grounded inside. Just as my sister and I were celebrating the fruits of our success, Jessica and Kelly came out. We’ve celebrated too soon.

As they threw in their fury with words that  hurt the ears, my sister became heated and I too could feel my blood boiling. Although we’ve been  taught that “stick and stones can break our bones, but words can’t hurt us”, the things we heard was enough to set my sister off who(I am extremely proud of to this day) threw in the first punch. I threw in a few cat scratches myself and pretty soon, their cousins had to come in and fight us because they were crying since we were too strong. Anyways, as soon as my sister and I realized we were no match for their guy cousins, we booked it back home and slammed the door. Baaaaad idea. Really bad idea. The next day as we were welcomed back into the group, Jessica and Kelly retaliated by making a surprise visit to our home and telling my grandparents about what we did. As soon  as we got home, we were greeted by some broom whacks to the gluteus maximus, lots of yelling, and a good hour or more of us kneeling faced to the walls.

From that day on, our “best friends” were barely seen in the neighborhood. Although I continued to hang out with the neighborhood kids, my sister along with Jessica stopped. I guess as the older kids, they had probably gotten tired of the same games everyday. As the summer came to an end and the cold weather along with school drove the kids indoors, I guess I too grew out of our silly games. And as one by one, the kids in our group moved away, we all decided to disband without even a proper goodbye. Although I still see Jessica and Kelly every now and then, I think we’ve all forgotten or gotten over the incident that happened one summer so very long ago.