five minute Friday

Five-Minute Friday: Jump

Double Dutch II
CC image courtesy of edenpictures on flickr
I never learned how to double dutch.

I watched them on the playground, my schoolmates whose legs moved effortlessly between the spinning ropes, chanted along with them as the ropes spun over their heads and slapped the blacktop with a satisfying smack-swish-smack-swish-smack-swish. A few times I even volunteered to turn the rope, just to get closer to the action. I ached to try it, but I was timid around those girls, and I never felt brave enough to step between them and try to jump.

Yolanda rode my bus, and she could dance through those ropes as well as anybody. We chatted every day on our way to her stop at Dutch Village in the afternoons, before the bus dropped me off at my house in Glendale. We braided the tails on the My Little Ponies she always carried in her purple backpack. We sang about how we never wanted to go to Mexico no more more more and about how Miss Mary Mack had silver buttons down her back back back.

We were friends in the way that little girls who ride the same bus can be friends, before the world starts telling us in subtle ways that we aren’t supposed to be. Our parents didn’t know each other, and our worlds never crossed outside of those bus rides and on the playground, where I watched her brown legs flash back and forth and wished I knew how to make my pale ones do that.

For my birthday, I asked for a jump rope. I got two…a short green one I could jump by myself, and a long pink one with purple handles meant for friends to turn for each other. The kind of rope you use for double dutch, if you have a second rope (and some friends on your street who can turn and jump). I had neither, so it sat in the package for a long time. Eventually, my younger sister and I used it as a tow rope to tie our bicycles together and to haul clothes baskets of our stuffed animals around the house.
The school changed our bus route, and I didn’t see much of Yolanda any more. I don’t know what happened to her. I never even knew her last name. It’s funny how those things don’t matter much when you are first friends, when it’s enough that you both like ponies with pink hair, before you start counting the things that make you different instead of the ones that make you alike.

I wish I’d asked her to teach me to jump like she could.

Five Minute Friday

Five-Minute Friday is a chance to write for five minutes in response to a prompt, without over-editing or backtracking, just to see what comes out…the way we used to color before we worried about staying inside the lines. For more Five-Minute Friday, visit Lisa Jo Baker’s blog, Tales from a Gypsy Mama.

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