A few months ago I shrunk Audra and I down to age ten and wrote this little story (if you can call it that) about us. I had forgotten about it until this morning, and just read it to the kids.
Alice thinks she is enchanted. She’s not, but I let her think that I think she is. She thinks this because she once made Toby Brown eat a grasshopper. It was dead, but it was still disgusting. We were walking home from school one day, and Toby was following behind us. We were laughing really loud to make him think that we had a secret. We didn’t really have a secret, the only reason we were even laughing in the first place was because we knew he was listening and trying to figure out what it was that we were giggling about. He doesn’t know that ten-year old girls just happen to giggle sometimes for no reason.
In the midst of our giggling, Alice abruptly stopped walking and let out a shrilling scream. I was still giggling, which was a little bit awkward for me because one of the first rules of friendship is not to laugh when your friend is scared or sad. When I looked at Alice, I could see shear terror in her eyes, and they were even a little bit watery (but that could’ve been left over from the laughing). She was standing absolutely upright, with her math book pressed tightly up against her chest with one arm, and the other arm perfectly extended straight out in front of her all the way down to the hot pink paint on her first finger nail, which was pointing down at a rather large grasshopper, who appeared to have had the misfortune of trying to cross a school sidewalk at 3:00 in the afternoon.
Toby rushed in front of us to see what Alice was screaming about. When he saw that it was a grasshopper, he heroically picked it up, which made Alice scream even louder.
“Get that thing away from me!”, she hollered at Toby.
Toby quickly covered it with his other hand. “There’s nothing to be afraid of, Alice, its dead”, he said, trying to console her.
“No, it’s not”, she said.
“Yes, it is”, Toby insisted, then he pulled his cupped hands up to his eyes and peeked through his fingers to make sure. “It’s definitely dead”, he declared.
“Just get it away from me”, Alice demanded.
Without a thought, Toby uncupped his hands, picked up the dead grasshopper by it’s legs, and plopped it into his mouth. I’m not sure if he meant to do that, or if he was nervous because Alice seemed to be upset at him, or if he just wanted to get it away from her per her demand, but didn’t know where to put it. For a moment, he had a surprised expression, then he chewed it twice, crunch, crunch, and then swallowed it. Once he recovered from the dry swallow he smiled triumphantly, as though he had slain the dragon for his princess.
“Eeeewwwww!” Alice and I simultaneously screeched before we busted into laughter.
Toby has had a huge crush on Alice since September. Not because she’s enchanted (because she’s not), but because she has a bright smile. I’m not really even sure what a bright smile is, since Alice doesn’t have braces or anything sparkly in her mouth besides teeth, but that’s what my mom said about her when she met her. That’s probably why Toby is in love with her, even though she thinks it’s because she’s enchanted, which she is not.