Amy lay in her bed and listened for any sounds of movement outside her room. She didn’t like to get up until her she heard her mother moving around the apartment. Amy had two older brothers. They would tease her when their mother wasn’t around, so she lay in her bed, listening for sounds of movement.
Today was Saturday; Amy’s favorite day. Her mother was home all day, and Amy looked forward to their special time together. All week Amy’s mother went to her job, and Amy went to school. Amy’s mother was usually tired when she got home each day. Raising three kids on her own was not easy on her meagre wages. Amy knew not to complain. She knew that her mother was trying her best to take care of them. But since her father left, Amy’s mother had returned to work. But on Saturdays Amy’s mother took her to dance class and they got to spend time together, just the two of them.
Once Amy heard the bath water running, she knew her mother was awake and getting ready for the day. She squeezed Teddy tight and sent a secret wish into his ear, then got up and went to the kitchen for her toast.
After breakfast, Amy and her mother walked the three blocks to her dance lessons. Twelve little girls and their mothers huddled in the waiting room. Coats went on the hooks and ballet slippers replaced sneakers. The girls lined up in three rows and giggles were hushed when Madame came into the room. Madame clapped her hands, signaling the beginning of class. Amy followed along while she struggled to keep her heels together and her toes pointed out. Then skipping in a circle, then jumping across the floor, and finally a bow for Madame.
Amy changed back into her lace-ups and put her slippers into the pink carrying case. She waited for her mother to finish chatting, then they climbed the steps and returned to the street. Amy’s brothers did not come to dance class, as they were able to stay home on their own. This was Amy’s time alone with her mother. Amy reached up and placed her hand in her mother. Her mother had lovely, soft hands, and Amy hoped she would too when she was a grown up lady. Amy made a fist and placed it insider her mother’s palm, and together they walked back home. Alone time over for another week.
When they got home, Amy’s mother checked on the boys and Amy had some time alone until lunch. She put away her ballet case and sat cross-legged on the floor with Teddy to tell him all about her morning. Sometimes her brothers would come barging in to her room. They would wrestle on her bed, then grab Teddy and throw him back and forth over Amy’s head. She would start out laughing, but soon the tears would come. Today, her brothers left her alone, and Amy rocked Teddy as she leaned against her bed.
Amy must have fallen asleep, because she awoke to her mother calling her for lunch. Amy wasn’t hungry today. She picked at her sandwich and glass of milk . Her mother finally gave her permission to leave the table. Amy had a sore tummy, a fluttery feeling that she didn’t understand. Amy thought there was something wrong with her, but she didn’t want to tell her mother. Her mother had enough to worry about, and Amy only wanted to be a good girl. Amy changed into her play clothes and went out to the playground in the center of the apartment complex. Amy loved the teeter totter, but today she chose the monkey bars. Amy was a good climber and she could get to the top, even though she was small for her age. She had calluses on her palms from gripping the cold metal. Once at the top, she would grab the middle bar and swing her legs down so she was hanging about two feet off the ground. If she swung hard enough she could bring her legs back up to the next bar and pull herself back up to the top. Without warning, Amy’s hand slipped as she reached up and she fell to the ground, the wind knocked out of her.
She heard the shouts and chatter of the other children all around her. No one came to her, and she lay still.
She turned her head, pebbles tangled in her hair, and saw a boy watching her from the swings. He was on his own, not pumping his legs, just sitting there with his hands around the chains. He was about her age, with light brown hair and a striped t-shirt and green shorts. There was a band-aid on his left knee. Amy could see that his eyes were a peculiar color. Like her Teddy’s.
Amy got up, brushed off her shorts, and walked over to the swings. She kept her eyes averted and chose the swing next to his, and started pumping her legs to get going. The boy pumped his legs, and soon they were moving in unison as they went higher and higher and back again. Amy started to laugh. Not in the hysterical way she did when her brothers teased her, but from her belly, without restraint. The boy glanced at her, and smiled. He let out a giggle, and soon they were both laughing and swinging up and down, up and down. The warm breeze blew Amy’s hair straight back. Amy felt so free and happy that she forgot all about her tummy ache. Amy and the boy slowed their legs and both swings came to a stop as their toes dragged on the pebbles.
Amy turned to her right and said “I am Amy”. The boy gazed at her, blinked twice, and said “I am David”.
They stared for a moment, and without another word, they jumped off the swings and ran to the teeter totter. They were about the same size. Amy knew that David would not let her bump on the ground; her brothers always did that and ut hurt a lot. But David kept pace with her, and they moved up and down, without any problem. When she heard her mother calling her home, Amy looked at David. She realized that her tummy ache was gone.
As they each scrambled off the teeter totter, Amy waited for David to walk over to her. She said “Thank you”.
David grinned.“I was going to say that!”
They smiled at each other and before she turned to leave, she said “See you tomorrow!” and David replied “You can count on it.”
Amy knew something special had happened. She no longer had a tummy ache, and she was starving! She wondered what was for supper. As she skipped back to the apartment, she turned and waved at David. David waved back!
What she didn’t realize was that David had also made a secret wish that morning. Today was a special day indeed.