“Danny? Danny, where’d you go?”
“I’m in here, Jen!”
Following the sound of her brother’s voice, Jensen came to the back of the store. Daniel was looking through the model airplane sets, particularly finding the white and blue one most favorable.
“Are you looking at planes again?”
“Yeah. I can’t wait to be on one again.”
Jensen groaned, “Are you saying that because you’re a scaredy-pants or-”
“Shut up, Jen! I know you’re freaked out too! I couldn’t sleep at all last night!”
“Get over it! It’s just some stupid story! Besides, we don’t even know if the old lady cooked her husband into the pie, all the stupid stories are incomplete.”
“I know,” Daniel sighed, “That’s what scares me.”
The children were broken from their thoughts as Nan called them back to the front of the store.
“You called us, Nana?” Daniel asked, nervous for what the old woman had planned next.
“I have a gift for each of you since you’ve been so polite these past few days!” Nan smiled as she pinched the young boy’s cheek gingerly.
Both of the children shared smiles, some more fake than others.
The cashier of the store handed Nan a bag and from behind the counter. Nan removed two small stuffed bears from the bag: one black and one brown.
“There, two beautiful bears for two beautiful children.” Nan smiled sweetly.
“It’s about time you two made some friends. Why not start here?”
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2003
“Mommy, Mommy! I made a friend at school today!”
Keisha set down the report she was working on and smiled back at her daughter, “Really? That’s amazing sweetheart! What’s her name?”
Addy giggled, “No, Mommy, not a ‘her,’ a ‘he!’ His name is Tony and his skin is even darker than mine.”
“Yep, you sure like that Tony character,” Rob stated, walking into the room, “Been talking about him nonstop since you got in the car.”
“But he’s so cool, Daddy! He’s my best-est friend ever!”
The parents laughed gently before Rob sent the young girl to unpack her bag and play in her room for a bit. With an exhausted huff, Rob flopped down into the kitchen chair next to his wife. She looked at him with a questioning smile.
Rob sighed, “Yeah, she really seems to like the kid. Although, I wish she would have befriended a girl instead. At least the kid is black; that’ll make things a lot easier for her.”
Keisha opened her mouth to argue, but stopped short. “Yeah, I guess. I’m just glad that she finally made a friend. For a while, I was afraid that she would be an outcast forever. It’s good to know that she’s past that.”
Rob smiled, “Yeah, I think our baby girl is going to do just fine. She’s a fighter just like her Mama.”
The parents smiled and shared a tender kiss.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2003
“Me and Tony got to do art class today, want to see? It’s really cool!”
“Sure sweetie, you go get it while I finish this load real quick.”
As fast as a bolt of lightning, the girl ran out of the laundry room. Rob smiled and shook his head. He had finished a load of whites and was starting a load of darks when his daughter came rushing into the room.
“Daddy, look look, see!? This is what Tony drew, look!”
Rob obliged and took the sheet of paper and took a quick look at it. It was a sprawl of red scribbles with no rhyme or reason to its path. He smiled, his daughter’s art skills far exceeded this Tony kid’s. Knowing his prodigy was intelligent gave him pride.
“It’s so good, right Daddy?”
“Yeah, sweetheart, but I want to see yours.”
“Yay! I drew me and Tony by the playground, see?”
She handed over the paper, while her dad looked a little confused. She drew the clouds, a few birds, a slide, all normal things for a child to draw and she drew herself just fine, right down to the color of shoes she was wearing. But Tony was just a large black blob on the page. Much taller than her drawing of herself and with bright white eyes with no pupils.
“It’s amazing, right Daddy? It looks just like us!”
Not wanting to fight with the 7-year-old, Rob just smiled and said, “Yeah, it’s amazing sweetie, you’re an amazing artist.”
The young girl squealed in joy and ran to her room while her dad continued to do laundry.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2003
“Mommy, what’s a n*****?”
Keisha almost dropped the porcelain mug she was washing, “W-What!? Where did you hear that!? That is a bad word. We don’t say those kinds of words!”
Addy frowned. “A mean boy called me it on the playground and Tony made him go away.”
Keisha sighed, anger written across her brow, “Well that was very good of Tony. You stay away from people like that mean boy, do you understand? Don’t go anywhere near them.”
Keisha’s heart was beating out of her chest. She would need to call the school.
“Okay, Mommy. I’ll stay away.”
“And you make sure you stay with Tony at school, okay? You have to look out for each other, alright.”
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2003
“I was thinking it’d be a good idea to get a dog, Hun. A big one.”
“A dog? You really want to get a dog right now?”
“Well yeah. I was thinking, with all this racism going on at Addy’s school, and that one kid that went missing from her school, a big dog would be a good idea.”
“I hear what you’re saying, but a pet really isn’t a good idea right now. A lot of dogs and cats have been going missing around here. I don’t want to invest a bunch of money into a guard dog only for it to get stolen after a few days.”
“Baby, that’s exactly WHY we need the dog. We have to think about what’s best for Addy.”
Keisha paused for a moment and sighed.
She opened the computer and started on a new tab, “What kind of dog did you have in mind?”
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2003
“Daddy, can Tony come over to our house tomorrow?”
Rob slowed down as he came towards the light, “You want to bring a boy over? Heh, well what do Tony’s parents say?”
The car slowly came to a stop at the stoplight.
“Tony doesn’t have any parents.”
“What do you mean he doesn’t have any parents, is he an orphan?”
“Sort of. Whenever he talks about it, it’s hard for me to understand.”
A somber look came across the man’s face, “Yeah I know it, baby. That stuff can be hard to understand even as an adult.”
Rob sat at the light, staring into the bright red bulbs. Being an orphan is tough. Could be a bad kid or just a kid looking for a chance to be good. But if his daughter picked him, she must have seen something good in him.
He rubbed his chin and sighed, ”Sure, why not? You can have Tony over at dinner time, alright? I’ll talk to your mama about it.”
Addy cheered in joy as the light flashed green and they drove home.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2003
“I still really think you should have asked me.”
“Ah, come on, babe, he’s just a little kid. He’s not going to do anything. It’s our daughter’s first friend. We have to be supportive.”
Keisha sighed, “Yeah, I suppose you’re right. So, this kid we’re waiting on, he’s an orphan?”
Rob adjusted his hat and took a deep breath, “Yeah, seems like it. Sweet little dark black kid in a white neighborhood and being an orphan: that’s a lot to have on your plate.”
“Do we know where he’s from?”
“Nah, Addy says the kid doesn’t even know.”
Keisha mewled, “The poor thing. It’s really sweet that our daughter would take in a kid like that.”
Keisha and Rob lean in for a side hug, “Yeah, we’re raising a great young woman, aren’t we?”
They both reach in for a kiss as the pitter patter of little feet come running into the house.
“Mama! Daddy! Tony’s here!”
The couple smile at each other as they hear Addy quietly voice her excitement with this, so far, silent Tony fellow. Addy peeks her head from around the corner with a big smile.
“Mommy, Daddy, I would like you to meet my best-est friend in the whole world,”
From around the corner, Tony appears, almost scrapping its “head” on the ceiling.
Rob and Keisha’s mouths fell open and their eyes began to water. Neither could move after seeing Tony. Tony showed his teeth in a crooked smile.
“Is it time to eat yet? Tony is really hungry. He says it’s been hard to find food lately because the cops have been around. He says cops taste sour. Yucky!” She giggled.
Tony moved further into the light as Keisha fell to her knees, tears streaming down her face.
Addy frowned, “Why are you crying, Mommy? Didn’t you say you wanted me to make friends?”