All Fall down
Sarah and Jessica came from two different worlds, but they had more in common than anyone thought.
Mrs. Finneys class thundered through the dimly lit hallways of Panther Creek Elementary on their way out to the black top. It had been raining for days and the children were restless. The boys began a game of King of the hill while the girls fought for a dry spot to play jump rope in the grass. Yells and cheers could be heard from the fifth grade classes on the kickball field. The fourth graders dominated most of the blacktop with a full court basketball game , and third graders tried to keep a firm grip on the foursquare court. The Jungle gym and playground equipment was crawling with muddy kindergarten and first graders so the late coming second grade class had to make do with what they had.
"...all fall down" Sarah sang the haunting refrain as she stared down at puddle of tadpoles from her spot on a gnarled root of a banyon tree just outside the kickball field.. Her dark eyes seemed to swallow all the light from her pinched elfin face as she contemplated the oblivious creatures at her feet. There was something entrancing about the patterns the little frogs swam in. They seemed to be spelling out encrypted messages in a language long forgotten, but obvious to anyone who would look closely enough.
" Hey kid!" someone yelled from a distance.
Sarah was too deep in thought to respond. Besides no one ever spoke to her, so she never developed the skils to anwser.
"All fall down." She whispered to the tadpoles in their little universe beneath the banyon.
"Hey, will you throw me the ball!" the voice was louder and closer.
Sarah dropped a banyon berry into the puddle and watched the little creatures flirt around the puddle, the larger more developed ones went after the berry in a frenzy until; the realized that it wasn't something palatable.
"Hey what's wrong with you?" A boot clad foot came down in the puddle sending tadpole and berry splashing out of their secure little world. Sarah slowly turned her head and looked up at the owner of the boot. It was a girl not much older than herself she wore grass stained blue jeans and a large T-shirt with the words 'FREE TIBET' written in bold print. She was holding a large red kickball and wearing a frown that seemed more a part of her than the glowing green eyes and thick mop of red hair.
"What are you doing out here kid?" the older girl demanded. Sarah said nothing, just slowly lowered her head and stared empty eyed down at the few remaining tadpoles that swam in excited circles around the offending boot.
Loud angry voices filtered through the dripping branches to the girls below. The kickball teams were arguing and a particularly loud voice demanded a do over. The voices rose as many agreed and disagreed until a fight broke out between the two captains until a shrill whistle silenced them all. Recess was over.
The green eyed girl sighed and shook her head at the kickball diamond. There was hardly a day that they finished a game with out a fight. She started back towards the black top as the whistle blowing teacher separated the teams back into respectful classes. Glancing over he shoulder she saw the little girl on hands and knees staring down at ground as if watching something grow.
"He kid , come on recess is over!" she yelled. The little girl didn't move so she went back and forcefully grabbed her by the arm and hauled her to her feet.
"What's wrong with you kid?" she asked peering thoughtfully into the younger child's face and looking in disgust at the smudge of mud streaking her clothes. There was a piece of colored paper pinned to the girls right shoulder, the frown deepened. Only kindergartners wore their names and classes pinned to their shirts and this kid was definitely not a kindergartner. She read the tag and taking the younger girls hand more gently lead her back to the black top where her class was waiting.
"By the way kid," she said before they reached where Mrs.Finneys class stood in a line "My name is Jessica."
"All fall down." Sarah mumbled