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Over The Wall
I lay on my stomach in my garden, watching some butterflies flit about among the flowers. Legs swinging up in the air, face cupped in slim-fingered hands, I diligently followed the creatures’ every move with my eyes.
A bird suddenly squawked from above, scaring away the timid creatures. I sighed as my sole source of entertainment flew off. I flipped over onto my stomach and stared up at the blue sky. “This is such a boring day,” I thought out loud.
Just then, as if in response to my proclamation, a basketball came flying over the wall to land smack dab on my face. “Ow!” I sat up abruptly, rubbing my (figuratively) smashed nose. “That was totally unnecessary!”
I thought I heard a faintly male snicker from next door. Scowling angrily, I walked to where the unlikely missile lay innocently on the lawn. “Stupid neighbors,” I muttered, turning the ball over in my hands.
It wasn’t really all that remarkable in the first place. Except for the fact that it was covered in random scrawls and scribbles in just about every color of the rainbow. If I were like Cousin Louis, I would have given a low whistle. My new neighbor, who had moved in a week ago, had mean aim and got crazy with Crayola markers. Life could not get any weirder.
Suddenly, I noticed a yellow Post-It note stuck to the side. Hi.
Feeling quite a bit curious, I dug around in my endless Bermuda pockets and surfaced with a blue pen. I scribbled a reply quickly under the greeting. Hello. Is this some sort of game? Ever practical, I had chosen not to beat around the bush. I tossed the ball back over the wall.
Moments later, it came sailing back in all its colorful glory. This time I was ready and caught it in both hands. Yes. Now we have to make up pseudonyms.
I was puzzled. Pseudonyms? Like nicknames? Why? I tossed the ball back. There was a slight pause, then some scratchy sounds, like a marker running out of ink, and the ball was thrown back. The words were a bit faded, but I could still make them out.
So that we don’t know whom the other person is. That way, it’ll be even more fun.
I was wrong. The day just got weirder. Um, okay… So what’s your nickname-thingy?
Another pause. Thingy?
I blushed and hurriedly scribbled an indignant reply. Hey, thingy is a nice word.
Whatever. My “nickname-thingy” is Davy Crockett.
He was still mocking me (I knew it was a he because of the “Davy”), but I let it slide as I was now holding back fits of laughter. As in the Disney character?
I could just imagine my mystery neighbor’s face turning a deep beetroot red. You watch Disney? How old are you? I laughed at his weak attempt to change the subject but humored him nonetheless.
Thirteen in two weeks. And you?
I nearly choked on thin air when I read his next note. One hundred and eight. No way. That voice she had heard couldn’t have been older than fourteen.
No seriously, how old are you?
Thirteen. In 1 week.
I gasped, outraged. That is so unfair.
Too bad. What about your pseudonym?
I thought for a while before writing down her answer. I’ve always liked Anastasia. Besides, it would be nice to keep the Disney theme going sine it kept the theme alive, don’t you think?
I could read the smile in his reply. I raised my eyebrow at that last part. Bias and haughty language. Anastasia it is. I assume that you’re a girl? Cause if not, I’d seriously like to end this correspondence.
He chose to avoid the question. Well, are you?
Yes, I’m a girl. You’re a guy, right? Do you go to Weston Middle? I was careful not to use the term “boy”. The masculine half of humanity was quite touchy about things like that. I’d learned that from Cousin Louis too.
Yes, I’m a guy. But I’m not allowed to tell you if I go to Weston Middle.
I was bemused. Why not?
Because that’s part of the rules. You’re not allowed to tell or ask each other specific details that can lead to finding out whom you are or who I am.
I pondered this new bit of information a little before coming to a quick realization. But that’s not fair! Now you know that I go to Weston Middle!
Actually I didn’t. Until you told me, that is.
That is so unfair.
Find me the verse that ever said life was fair.
My eyes narrowed. You got that from a book, didn’t you?
The surprise was evident in his words. How’d you know?
I smirked. One up for Anna. I didn’t. Until you told me, that is.
There was a grudging concede of defeat in the next one. Clever. However, there was something different. Different being that it was written on a new piece of notepaper. Childishly, I decided to argue about it.
Hey, what happened to the other Post-It?
I kept it. Why?
I want it.
Well, you can’t have it.
Because I have it.
Why can’t I have it?
Duh, because I have it.
I flushed but ploughed on anyways. Now it was more of a matter of pride than an act of childishness. I simply refused to let him win. Why makes you think you can keep it?
What makes you think you can keep it?
Because I wrote the last sentence. Man, that sounded lame even to me.
Well, the paper belongs to me, and that definitely cancels out your weak claim to ownership, don’t you think?
Great, now I was stuck. Still, it hurts to lose to a boy who goes by a name as silly as “Davy Crockett”, no less. So I satisfied myself with a one-word answer. Fine.
I could just imagine the amusement dancing in his…some color or other eyes. What color are your eyes?
B. Invalid question. Fine what?
This guy was good, unlike my (terrible) luck. I decided to try the innocent approach. Whatever do you mean?
I mean, “Fine, you win”.
The guy wasn’t as good as I thought. He had practically dug his own grave with that one. I do? Wow, that’s so kind of you, Mr. Crockett.
You do not. And don’t call me Mr. Crockett. It makes me feel old.
Y. Stop changing the subject!
You sound quite distressed, Mr. Davy.
I do not. And cut it out with the Mr. Stuff already.
I giggled behind my hand. Why ever should I?
Because I said so.
I raised an eyebrow. Did you now?
Yes, I did.
I don’t quite recall such a thing ever happening, Davy.
Well, I do.
You must be hallucinating, dear. Anastasia pats poor delusional Davy on the hand, smiling fondly like the kind girl that she is.
Davy quells the urge to slap the silly Anastasia senseless. You, Anastasia, are quite mad.
Am I now?
Yes, you are.
By whose royal decree?
And who would you happen to be?
Da. Davy Crockett.
I smiled to myself. Poor boy’s slipping up. By now, he’s entirely forgotten what he was trying to get me to do. You’re slipping up, Davy. A whole two characters. Tsk tsk.
Thoroughly amused, I passed the ball back without writing anything.
Why didn’t you write anything?
Anastasia raises her eyebrow. You told me to shut up.
Davy folds his arms across his chest. Since when do you listen to what I tell you to do?
Since it suits me to.
Fine. So say it.
It’s official. I do not have the luck of the Irish. Say what?
Say that I win.
Well, aren’t you the narcissistic one?
I beamed. Ha! Take that for hoity-toity words. Don’t you know what it means? After all, you’re practically the embodiment of narcissism.
I am not. Whatever narcissism is.
I decided to be generous for once and caved. It means self-absorbed. There’s a legend behind it too. You wanna hear it?
Once upon a time, there was a very handsome god called Narcissus, who was very vain. The goddess Aphrodite decided to punish him and made him fall in love with himself. In my opinion, there wasn’t much progress made.
Davy grins broadly. You think I’m a god?
I flushed from equal amounts of anger and embarrassment. No, I think you’re stupid.
Well, that’s a bummer.
No. Let’s exchange numbers.
Isn’t that against the rules?
You wanna play ball during rainy days?
Guess not. But only for text messaging.
Whatever. Mine’s 555-0925.
Mine’s 555-6078. I had just sent the ball over the wall when the kitchen door flung open. My mother stood upon the threshold, armed with apron and wielding a spatula. “Ann!” she called loudly, without an ounce of discretion.
My mind had just started working out the full implications of my mother’s loud announcement when the vandalized ball landed in front of me.
I heard that. And FYI, I do win, whether you admit it or not.
Just to spite him, I tucked the notepaper into my pocket and threw the ball back before going into the house to rescue my hapless mother from her cooking disasters, feeling very pleased with myself.
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