What I saw on last night’s run:
On a late summer afternoon, the grass sways lazily in Autumn’s approaching breath. The sun is still warm and cutting slants through the trees, and jets move silently through the sky, leaving white trails that spread out and disappear into clouds. A cardinal is chirping in a nearby tree, the smell of grilled hamburgers is in the air, and the sounds of children laughing in backyards while they throw grass at one another bounces off the houses.
In the front yard of a white house with blue shutters, four children sit in a circle in the grass. They are only four or five years old, and there are three boys and one little girl. All of the boys are shirtless and wearing “play” shorts. The little girl is in a blue and white sailor dress, her hair mussed on one side, her cheeks rosey. They all laugh.
Then one boy tackles another. They play fight, roll in the grass. The other boy jumps in on the fight. They growl. The girl twirls a piece of grass in between her fingers and watches intently as they begin to tumble into a shallow ditch near the yard. She hesitates, inches forward and settles back down, then moves forward again and tickles the feet of the boy at the bottom of the pile.
One of the other boys gets up, runs around the girl and plops himself in front of her, blocking her from the boy’s feet. She smiles, leans back and crosses her arms.
The cardinal continues to chirp.
The boys continue to fight.
And the girl has gotten her first lesson in dating.
Oddly enough, I saw this in only a matter of seconds as I ran past the house. It just seemed so clear to me that it encompassed everything about the way boys and girls interact. The girl wants to play like the boys, but they’ve already singled her out as different. She likes the one who doesn’t want anything to do with her. And the boy that does like her? The one who can’t stand the fact that she’s tickling somebody else’s feet, well, she wants nothing to do with him.
It’s no wonder that so many love lives are full of turmoil or difficulty.
We’re all lucky to find that guy whose feet we want to tickle, and who actually wants us to.