*An Adventures of Jude and Tammy story*
Tammy slowly swung back and forth, the tips of her sandals gliding through the sand. She looked up, hearing Jude’s voice across the playground. He laughed and chased Katy around, trying to place a ladybug in her hair, knowing she was scared of them. Tammy smiled and kicked off to make her swing go faster, higher.
Katy’s squeals echoed off the brick wall of the school. “Jude, stop!” She ran into the circle of her other friends. “Help me, Alex, Chris, Rob.”
The three friends circled around Katy and then grabbed hold of her. The tall skinny boy named Chris blurted out, “I’ve got her, Jude. Do it!”
The five friends squealed and laughed in their circle as Jude pretended to place the ladybug in Katy’s hair. Tammy giggled watching the chaos from the swings. Katy frantically searched through her hair for the bug and everyone else busted out laughing. Chris and Jude fell to the ground holding their stomachs, Alex giggled into her pig tails and Rob shook his head. They then launched into a game of tag, covering the entire playground.
Tammy swung higher and higher, closing her eyes so she could feel the catch in her stomach as her swing fell back down to the earth after soaring high into the wide blue sky. The warm rays of the sun kissed her cheeks with a light burn. Her pale, porcelain skin always turned pink when exposed and caused a patch of freckles to appear across her nose. A soft, sad song played in her mind as she lost herself in the swing.
She opened her eyes just as she reached the apex of the back swing and then smiled as she soared toward Jude standing beside the swings, his hands cupped over his brows like a visor to block the sun from his eyes.
“Hey, Jude.” It took a couple passes, her toes running through the sand to bring the swing to a stop. “What’s up?”
“You should have seen it, Tammy. I pretended to put this bug in Katy’s hair and she went all crazy. It was so sweet,” Jude told her as his eyes sparkled with excitement.
“I saw it,” Tammy responded.
“Did you see how she screamed? She sounded just like you when you scream.”
Tammy nodded. The bell rang, indicating the end of recess.
Jude turned his attention to the school and then back at Tammy. “Well, I’ve got to go. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
With a small wave, Tammy responded, “Bye, Jude.” She walked slowly into the building with a huge lump in her throat.
Tammy hung upside down on the monkey bars. She closed one of her eyes and held out her tiger-eyed marble, catching a ray of the late summer sunshine in it and it sparkled.
Jude walked up beneath her. “Hey, you still got that thing?”
“Yeah, why wouldn’t I?”
“Can I borrow it?”
Tammy wrapped her fingers around her marble and scrunched her brows at Jude. The pressure in her brain grew heavy from being upside down for too long, so she pulled herself up and sat on top the bars. “Why?”
“Chris wanted to play a game but I didn’t have a shooter. We can play if I borrow yours.” Jude held out his hand.
Opening her hand, Tammy looked down at her most precious treasure and then at the marble in her hand. She bent down, placing the tiger-eye into Jude’s hands. “Take care of it.”
Without looking back, Jude took off running toward his group of friends and waved over his head, “Thanks, Tammy.”
Her fingers ached where the marble had once sat. She closed her eyes to stop the tears that wanted to fall.
Watching the pretty pink ink flow across the paper, Tammy carefully formed each of her letters. Her teacher told her earlier that day she had the best penmanship in the class and her stories were very imaginative. She lay in the grass, swaying her legs back and forth behind her as she scribbled words across the lined page. The black beetle scurried across the moss-covered log.
A ball bounced onto her paper, causing her to mess up the letter-g. She raised her head and shouted, “Hey, watch where you throw your balls!”
Jude ran up, his steps crunching over the fallen autumn leaves and grabbed the ball. He looked down and said, “Sorry, Tammy. I didn’t see you laying there. Your brown sweater camouflaged you.” He cocked his head to the side. “What are you doing?”
“I’m writing a story,” Tammy answered. “It’s about that time at the start of school …”
“Jude, come on!” Chris yelled from across the playground.
“See you later,” Jude said and took off running.
“… that we saw a black beetle in the woods,” Tammy finished saying. She closed her notebook and placed her face into the crook of her arms and cried.
The cold winds came and snow fell, making the playground look like a winter wonderland. Tammy loved her pink coat, boots, hat and mittens. They had been an early Christmas gift from a grandmother she didn’t know who lived in the city. It was the last day of school before the winter break.
Tammy stepped through the snow until she came to the familiar plastic tunnels. She liked to crawl into the end of the one placed by the edge of the playground where the other kids rarely played. She liked to write there, free from the sounds of laughter, the wayward ball, the stares, or simply the sight of anyone else. She crawled inside and pulled out her tattered notebook, now almost full of her stories. She pulled out her pink pen that was now almost empty of ink and began to write.
The princess swung her sword and slayed the mean dragon, saving the kingdom.
“What’cha you doing in here?”
Tammy looked up, surprised to see Jude peering into the edge of the tunnel. “I’m writing.”
“You’re still doing that?” Jude slid into the end of the tunnel and sat next to her. “What are you writing about?”
Tammy blinked. Her bottom lip trembled. She snapped her book shut and said to Jude, “I missed you.”
Jude looked up at her and answered, “What are you talking about? I’ve been right here.”
She shook her head. “No, you haven’t.”
He smiled. “You’re being silly, Tammy. I see you every day.”
“No, you haven’t seen me in weeks. You haven’t played with me or talked to me.” She stuffed her book and pen into her pocket and climbed over him to get out of the tunnel.
Jude sat there quietly and stared at Tammy. Confusion covered his face.
“Say something …” Tammy started, but then snapped her lips shut. Tears sprang into her eyes. “I was your best friend and would have followed you anywhere.”
“You are my best friend,” Jude muttered.
“You forgot me.” Tammy shook her head. “I gave up on you when you took my marble and never gave it back.”
“It was just a stupid marble. I’ll get you another one,” Jude said.
Tears coursed down Tammy’s face. “It was mine and precious to me. You were precious to me.”
Jude pulled himself out of the tunnel and crossed his arms over his chest. “You’re being such a girl, Tammy.”
“I am a girl.” Tammy turned away and started walking away. “Good-bye, Jude.”
Till next time,