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The want to be apart of something bigger

by Kathleen Radtke about a year ago in literature

A story that I started and regret not finishing

We ran.

Our feet the weight of cotton candy sold by the cart lady on the corner, as we sped down the street from the playground, the soles of my sandals grew thinner from the intense heat of the concrete. It didn't feel like it possible for it to get any hotter put Cherishes hand was almost as hot as a frying pan. I flinched as Cherish pulled my arm aggressively through the streets. She had come to save me again.

I was tired of needing to be saved.

I should have known better than to try and play basketball with the other boys, but I wanted what they had- the intensity that they faced together, the seriousness of what is supposed to be a pick up game of basketball. All of them united as they ran up and down the courts on the playground. Even when a player became too aggressive he was invited back the next day as part of the team.

That’s what I wanted, to be a part of the team. Instead of the outsider looking from the other side of the gate.

The Basketball team let in students from all grades, so the boys who were included became more than just teammates but brothers. They ate lunch together, played basketball during recess, talked about the girls they got mess around with and always went home together.

I was too small to play basketball, and my sneakers had holes in them, I got flustered even thinking about trying out or just asking to play. I was good at school though, Ms. jacobson the English teacher told me i had the best vocabulary in the seventh grade, and was well on my way to highschool level reading.

I don’t know what I was thinking of trying to approach the strong wall of the sweaty P.S.241 Basketball players.

It seemed like I went unnoticed.

“Yeo can I go up next Daniel.”

Some upperclassman whose names I didn't know, ignored me walking over to there colorful bags on the beat up gated fence that surrounded the playground.

Only three of them responded to my request to join the next game of Basketball. I started preparing myself for the worst when Daniel, the tallest and fattest of the eight twisted his ugly face in a disgusted look, and started laughing.

He pushed me into the rusted gates .Vergil, who had transferred from Haiti last year and was by far the nicest of the boys, threw me a pitiful look as he walked away from the gate I was being pushed into. Jeremiah a fourteen year old in the seventh grade, who biggest accomplishment this year was filming a sex tape, cackled showing his crooked teeth.

“Can you even run in those.” Jeremiah asked, stepping on toes with his pristine white ups. Not a single crease- it was a talent not many had achieved in the seventh grade.

“Foreal, we ain’t wading through the water-we playing ball.” Daniel chimed in giving me one last push into the rusted gate.

I realised there was something wrong immediately and I couldn't hold the yelp that escaped my mouth.

I felt the sensation of pain across my back as I fell on the gate, where some exposed metal hung out, digging into my back. Tears threatened to escape my eyes as the sharp metal continued to dig into my skin. I felt myself turn red- I didnt even think that could happen to me. My hands began to shake and my body was completely taking over.

I couldn’t be weak.

They began to walk away, leaving me in a scrunched ball.

I refused to be weak, I spent so much time under the radar. Invisibility was becoming second nature and I hated it, at least if I tried they would maybe remember me, maybe even resent me a little-I would no longer be invisible.

I pushed all my thoughts down into my throat, the pain that was spread across my back I used to push myself forward. I rose from the concrete, willing my body forward wrapping my arms around Daniels thick waist and slamming him onto his face. The lengthy boy fell with a thud as I slid forward and past his body.

From this point everything seemed to move in slow motion.

I could see Daniel's expression of pain as he lifted his head revealing a bloody forehead and tears falling from his eyes. I saw the matching faces of shock on Jeremiah and Vergil, which I would admit flooded me with pride-even if I was probably gonna be beat up because of it- it would have been worth it just because of those faces.

Jeremiah was moving his body forward when I saw her.

The only thing that seemed to move in a fluid motion was Cherish.

Her neon pink shirt glowed in the heat, and the cat cartoon that was hissing seemed to come to life as she ran past the gates that separated the playground from the basketball courts. Her brows met together in anger, as her mouth widened to release a scream that turned the heads of every single person in the playground. She looked like one of those Samurai from my mangas rushing into battle, even as I felt blood drip down my back and pain spread across my arms I couldn’t help but smile.

Cherish had always been bigger. The girl was the second tallest student in our school, P.S.241 and as each day passed her stomach seemed to protrude further. I would never call her fat because I know it would hurt her feelings and she seems to be more muscle than fat. I am also very aware she broke the locks on the bathroom door right before school ended and could throw her older brother across her bed. I will never ever get in a fight with Cherish.

So when she threw her body into the air and into the boys, I was not surprised to hear a loud clap as their bodies slammed into each other.

The boys' limp bodies rolled across the red pavement of the basketball court, the people surrounding the court shocked in response to the sight. Cherish had somehow landed in a form of push up and quickly came to drag my almost lifeless body across the playground, she looked like a goddess. Towering over me-leading me to salvation.

Her platts had been tightly braided to her scalp leaving her face exposed to the world; her skin was the same color as my favorite chocolate pudding, her eyes the shape of almonds which her long silky eyelashes connected to, when my eyes arrived to her lips I was flushed with a similar heat that I felt on the playground, I liked it though. So I continued, reaching her almost perfectly heart shaped lips when I suddenly came into very aggressive contact with a tree branch.

“Dee get up those boys are still running after us”. Cherish says, worry is spread across her face. She cared more than anybody ever expected her too.

Kathleen Radtke
Read next: 'Chocolate Kisses'
Kathleen Radtke
See all posts by Kathleen Radtke

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