A few evenings ago, J and I were sitting on the porch after I came home from work. Lulu and her Mama, Tammy, came outside. Lulu thinks I am the gift goddess now. Everytime she looks up and sees me sitting in my chair, she'll hold her little arms up in the air "HI Chelle!". At first, I just dropped flowers down to her. Now, I have to think of new gifts for Lulu. Some evenings it's candy, Special K 90 calorie snack packs or yogurt. When I was cleaning out the soap shed, I found a Halloween rubber ducky soap I'd made and brought it back to the ghetto for Lulu. I ran inside the apartment and fetched the Count Duckula soap that was in a clear box tied with halloween ribbon. I dropped it down to Lulu and she acted like I had given her a golden egg. She wasn't quite sure what to do with it, she was just excited about the clear, square box and fancy ribbon. I thought about childhood innocence. A Reese's peanut butter cup brightens her entire day. She kept trying to give the Duckula soap back to me as if she didn't deserve it. I kept assuring her that it was hers to keep.
Tammy came outside with some chunky colored chalk sticks for Lulu. She ran to the asphalt and started scribbling. Mama D. came outside and grabbed a chalk stick and started drawing boxes. When she was finished, she had created a hopscotch board with an extra box because she had been drinking one too many. Mama D. started jumping across the board with Lulu following behind like Tigger. Mama Dee called up me, "Come on down here, Chelle. Let's have a hopscotch match.
It was sprinkling and I was tired. I was going to pass up the offer until Mama D. started talking smack about how she could beat me. I told J I'd be right back. He asked where I was going. "Inside, I have to change my shoes, I can't be a hopscotch champion wearing flip flops!" I went inside and put on a brand spanking new pair of blue "Mephisto" All Rounders. I had bought them for work but they informed me I was only allowed to wear black or white shoes on the floor. I walked down to the board and Mama D. said, "Damn girl look at those shoes!". I said, "Mama D. you must not know 'bout me." Beyonce's song, "Irreplacable" was one of my anthems when I left. I used to listen to it over and over, I think it secretly drives J crazy. Anytime someone smarts off to me now, I reply, "You must not know 'bout me, I can have another you in a minute."
I don't think J knew how competitive I can be. Mama D. and I discussed the rules. I haven't played hopscotch for 23 years. I found a good rock and it was on like Donkey Kong. I threw the rock into box one hopped over it and picked it back up after the turn around. Lulu gleefully squealed like a little pig as she watched Mama D. and I compete. When Mama D. saw she had some stiff competition on her hands, she decided to change the rules. Now, when I picked up the rock after the turn around, I wasn't to touch the ground with my free hand. Tammy was keeping score. J was trying to keep Lulu occupied by drawing pictures with the colored chalk. Lulu was the rock stealer. Everytime I threw my rock, she'd scurry across the board like a little mouse and steal my rock. Instead to making her hand it over, I would find a new one which messed my lead up some because I would have to judge how hard to throw a new rock.
When I got to box eight, Mama D. was stuck on box five. Her rock just wouldn't stay in the box. Tammy shouted out, "Look at Chelle's legs! Go legs, Go!". That was all the encouragement I needed and I cleared the board and became hopscotch champion. The rain picked up and J and I went inside. The next morning when I went to work, the drawings and the hopscotch board were gone, washed away by the rain. For about twenty minutes that evening, I felt that childhood innocence again. Nothing mattered but the rock and hopping across the board and I giggled like a seven year old.