By: Toni Bambara Created By: Alex Hoffman
So I stand there with my new plans, laughing out loud by this time as Raymond jumps down from the fence and runs over with his teeth showing and his arms down to the side, which no one before him has quite mastered as a running style. And by the time he comes over I’m jumping up and down so glad to see him—my brother Raymond, a great runner in the family tradition. But of course everyone thinks I’m jumping up and down because the men on the loudspeaker have finally gotten themselves together and compared notes and are announcing “In first place—Miss Hazel Elizabeth Deborah Parker.” (Dig that.) “In second place—Miss Gretchen P. Lewis.” And I look over at Gretchen wondering what the “P” stands for. And I smile. Cause she’s good, no doubt about it. Maybe she’d like to help me coach Raymond; she obviously is serious about running, as any fool can see. And she nods to congratulate me and then she smiles. And I smile. We stand there with this big smile of respect between us. It’s about as real a smile as girls can do for each other, considering we don’t practice real smiling every day, you know, cause maybe we too busy being flowers or fairies or strawberries instead of something honest and worthy of respect . . . you know . . . like being people.