Excerpt from “Little Me, Big World”

Chapter 2: my friends on my street


I rush home from my first day of school and throw my backpack on the floor. It’s 3:30 and my mom won’t be home from work for another hour and a half. I don’t have to be home till 6:30 so I have 3 hours to check in with all my friends and see what’s going on. My home friends are the other street kids. The ones in my neighborhood who are allowed out after school till dark. We are all different ages, but we play together all summer, school breaks and after school. We’re the street kids.

I head to my neighbor Sarah’s house. She’s in 7th grade now and she isn’t home yet so I run up the street to Kathy’s house. Her and Augie are already in front of the TV with huge bowls of fruity pebbles watching MTV music videos.

“Hey, guys!” I say and I run past them and in to Kathy’s kitchen to help myself to a giant bowl of cereal too. Kathy’s house has the best cereal selection.

“Hey Jess!” they reply.

Kathy lives up the street on the corner. I met her one day when I was playing in the field across from our dead-end street. She taught me how to make flower crowns and then we went to her house to eat cereal and watch Beaches.

Kathy is beautiful. She has straight strawberry blond hair, green eyes and a million freckles. She is one year older than me and she has a way older brother and sister. Her parents are divorced and her father lives with her grandparents (his parents) the next street over. In fact, we have to cut through that backyard to get to the Rock.

The Rock is a place in the woods that overlooks a lake. We go here to swim or hang out when we want to be alone. The Rock is my favorite place in the world.

Augie lives the next street over. He’s Kathy’s age, so they are in the same grade. That’s how I met him. His parents are divorced too. His father works as some sports news something and has Emmy’s in the family room. His mom moved to Milford and owns an ice cream shop that we sometimes go visit. We eat ice cream and play Nintendo in the basement with Augie’s younger brother Ben.

Ben is my sister’s age, 3 years younger, but they aren’t friends really. I usually leave my sister home when I go to Augie’s house but sometimes, she comes to hang out with us. When Augie’s parents divorced, Ben went to live with his mother and Augie stayed with his father. Augie’s father is away a lot on work, so his Grandmother watches him a lot. She lives next door with Augie’s great grandmother. Augie is Italian, brown eyes, brown hair and a little on the chunky side, like me. He’s the funniest person I have ever met and he’s always up for an adventure.

Once we are all sitting down, they tell me about their classes and lockers and how you’re not with the same teacher all day and you have a different teacher for English, Math, Science and Social Studies. You also have Art, Music, Gym and a language class. They got to pick between Spanish or French and they both picked Spanish.

There are two teams in each grade because there are 3 Elementary schools combining into one Middle school and there are all these new kids. Kathy already has a boyfriend who’s in fifth grade at North Mianus Elementary and we are going to walk down there after we finish our cereal and get dressed. Middle school sounds awesome and I am so happy that I am here with them and not home.

Kathy finishes her bowl first and heads to her sister’s room to find something cool to wear when she sees her boyfriend. I will never have a boyfriend, I don’t think. The last kid who liked me was Patrick and when he tried to kiss me, I punched him cause that’s gross, and that was the end of that friendship. Then he moved away. I’m pretty sure that Deacon likes popular Rebecca along with every other boy in our grade.

Kathy puts on a hot pink mini skirt and a neon green tube top with different neon-colored squares all over it. She layers two pairs of scrunchie socks for added color and coolness and then we raid her sister’s makeup bag. Kathy pumps the mascara wand like a pro and applies mascara, lip gloss and blush. Augie and I apply some gloss because it smells and tastes like strawberries.

While she’s getting ready Augie and I try on all her sister’s clothes and laugh at each other. I pick a black tube top with a neon green fluffy skirt and Augie puts on her prom dress and stuffs the chest with tube socks, and we laugh till we cry. When Kathy’s ready, we head out. Augie says he’s going home to drive his dad’s Bronco in his driveway and smoke his grandma’s cigarettes. He invites us but we say maybe next time because Kathy has a date….

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