"I kicked myself in the head when I tried to do a front flip," he explained to me, rubbing his temple with one hand. I believe he stopped his game and ran over just to tell me that. Sometimes I wonder why they bother telling you about the idiotic things they do.
"Well, that was dumb."
"Yeah." He smiled. "But it was fun."
I mean, really.
I don't know who told them that clasping someone round the legs and ramming your head into the backs of their knees and sitting on their chest and rolling over and over with them until you're breathless and muddy and your hair sticks on end is a game, or what keeps them intact when they've been kicked and shoved and crushed and sat upon a million times, or why they continue trying to impress when no one's watching.
I wonder how their energy never runs out and their minds never tire and they manage to put all their effort into the silliest, least important things, like front flips and back flips and kick flips and whatever other kinds of flips there are, and I think it's funny how they style their hair and stop smiling for photographs like they did when they were six years old, but on occasion forget they are men and skip around and scream like little girls and excuse their faults with, "Aw, come on, we're just kids!"
I find it curious how they run about the place and stand on their heads and pretend they're chickens or chimpanzees and put dirt down one another's collars and trip one another over as a means of amusement and repeat everything they hear twice as loudly
and collect sticks
and throw sticks
and break sticks
and fall over sticks
and hit each other with sticks
and hit sticks with other sticks
And don't care a tad that you're watching in bewilderment, but you do them a simple favour and they thank you as though it's the most difficult thing in the world, summoning all manly courage from their toes, which prove to be particularly intriguing at such times.
Can anyone tell me what makes them unashamed nuts one moment and awkward little gentlemen the next?
The sixth grader with long curls and arrogant eyes pranced around me with taunts of, "You're too slow!" as, worn out and close to dropping dead with the exhaustion of playing his game, I tried my best to catch him.
"You're too fast," I gasped.
"I'm not too fast," he said, then added in a self satisfied murmur, "Only the fastest kid in school. Anyway, this game is boring."
Next time I saw him he approached me shyly and asked, "Helena - are you going to play tag again today?"
I mean, really.