By Decoris Verbum

You shove your hands deeper into your jean pockets as you watch the little girl splash around in the silver glass puddles. She's without parents; a small part of you wants to go ask her where she lives. The other part asks you why you're standing there, clad in T-shirt and jeans, shivering in the light drizzle outside of your apartment. Yet you just stand there, staring.

She has a waterfall of angelic blonde hair pouring down her bright red raincoat. As to the shade of red, you can't quite place it. It's on the tip of your tongue; you can almost taste it...

She's young—must be in kindergarten, you suppose. Kindergarten...A smile tugs at your lips as the memories flow. Kindergarten, the glimpse of adulthood before years of studious school suffocate all previously formed aspirations. Now those were the days. Bringing your blankie everyday for rest time, that scraggly thing snuggled to a threadbare rag. You always loved it anyways.

Love. That was another social jewel, now lost. The first day was timid; it took a whole five minutes to detach you pudgy hand from Mom's and begin assimilating to the warm, homely teacher. You know you had a deep crush on her, but even today you won't admit it. You wouldn't admit it then, no, not with Suzy around. Ah, Suzy. The playground wedding was brief, sealed with a kiss beneath the slide. For that blissful moment, all cooties were forgotten.

And then there was the other aspect; new social experiences meant the prospect Mom shook into you one too many times: sharing. Everyone felt the static hissing between crayon boxes; you never really lost those stubborn habits. Someone steps on his yellow, and he tries to borrow one of yours. Your angry yells soon bring the teacher over, and that dissolves you fury. Although not before you could land him that smarting slap to the arm. You said sorry to his tear-streaked face, but you really didn't mean it.

As other thoughts wash around you—snack time, music class, art projects—it suddenly hits you.

Cherry. That's it; the girl's coat is cherry.

Before you know it, you're walking forward, sloshing through puddles. "Hi there," you say as you near her.

She stares for a moment, interrupted from her jovial splashing. She cocked her head. Her features soft, innocent. "Will you be my friend?"

She reaches from your hand in a companionable manner, her blue eyes beseeching.

Squeezing her small fingers, you just smile.