Wednesday, March 16, 2016


I remember our Boys versus Girls War during 2nd grade. One of my best friends was a boy, Ray, leader of the boys' troops in fact; so I agreed to be a spy for the enemy...infiltrating the girls' side easily because of my reputation as a trustworthy rule follower. After school, I would relay the girls' attack plans to my friend on the guys' side. I felt bad about it; but Ray and I had been friends since kindergarten. I couldn't turn my back on him; and yet, because I was a girl, I was drafted into the female troops, like it or not.
I justified my role as a traitor because Laura, leader of the girl warriors, was brutal. She'd stomp the boys' feet with her cowboy boots. She was fast and merciless, her thick ponytail swinging as she raced from boy to boy, mashing their toes with a crunch of her heel. I trailed after the girls, at the back of the pack, cringing inwardly as Laura vanquished the enemy, one foot at a time...leaving boys hopping in her wake.
As much as I disapproved of her battle tactics, she was an impressive leader. Sometimes, she pretended to ride a wild mustang bareback into the fray. She was so convincing, bending slightly at the waist, wind whipping her ponytail behind her, using one hand to smack the horse's invisible flank. She gave a war whoop; and, shrugging at one another, the rest of us galloped awkwardly after her.
The boys parted and scattered.
No matter how carefully I relayed the girls' plans for the next day's attack, the boys could never best Laura. Save for her, we were a sorry troop. None of the rest of us could really stomach all the foot stomping; and most of us wore canvas Keds, anyway,...not cowboy boots.
Eventually, the girls won the war despite my role as turncoat. The boys surrendered, tired of bruised toes. They needed us in order to have two full kickball teams.
As fierce as she was in battle, Laura was surprisingly ready to concede. I guess she'd grown tired of all the easy victories. Laura never found out that I was the mole; and for that I was grateful. Though my loyalties, obviously, were with my good friend Ray, I couldn't help admiring Laura's bold and brassy ways. I did not want to stomp and shove and run and glare; but I wouldn't have minded feeling a fraction as powerful as she looked, dashing fearlessly toward her enemy on the back of a horse only she could see.


  1. Wonderfully written! At first Laura reminded me of Kevin Henkes' Lily (brassy, cowboy boots) but then I realized she was WAY older and more powerful. Great memory of divided loyalties, delightful character description.

  2. I don't know that I would call you traitor as much as loyal friend.

  3. Good thing she didn't know it was you, you might not have working toes today. What a vivid memory you have of this time in your life! Wonder where those kids are now.