Boys and Girls

On Saturday, my daughter and her friend filled up water balloons and threw them over the fence into our neighbors’ yard, where a boy in their grade lives. Before they moved into the house about a year ago, another boy in the same grade lived there. We used to see him all the time, especially when he and the boy from two doors down climbed the tree in front of our house. Or rang the doorbell and ran away. Or tackled each other like puppies. When they get to be eleven, they do less tackling, so we don’t see the newer boy much.

The balloons were an invitation, though, and for about an hour, he and his friend ran around outside with my daughter and her friend. Then, the girls came inside. The boys, though, weren’t done. Our neighbor decided to throw a ball at our house. He was aiming for a foot of brick in between two windows, he told us after the ball came crashing through the window. No one was hurt. Our newish neighbor was paralyzed on our front step, practically in tears. It was an idiotic thing to do, but he was a boy with an invitation. He was feeling cocky. Showing off is never a good thing.

I wanted to yell at him, but I didn’t. If someone were hurt, I would have. So I hugged him instead. His friend smiled behind him, thinking, probably, “She’s not going to tell his mother. How sweet is that.” They left and sat on his porch. His head was in his lap.

I figured that he would say something. At least by the time the emergency glass people came to fix the window, on a Saturday at 6pm, for a lot of extra money. It is now Monday, and clearly, the mother has not been told. She would kill him if she knew. I can’t tell her; she has three other kids and the husband hasn’t lived there since October and I think the boy should fess up and tell her himself.

My daughter will probably interrogate him in gym class today. Meanwhile, we’ve seen him go in and out of his house a few times since the incident, and his head twists away from our direction in ways that are not physically possible. I think it is a matter of time.

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