The little boy, now frightened and alone, runs back to his mother, a young, dyed-blonde and quite pretty woman, married barely out of puberty, with no chance to educate herself past her junior year (high school dropout, what an outrage), with lips too small for her face.
“What’s wrong, honey?” She sees the desolation in his eyes.
[boy do i know that feeling]
“I w-w-was t-talking to a g-g-girl b-but her moh-mommy c-c-came a-and took h-her ah-ah-ah-away.” He is almost on the verge of tears, but refuses to cry on what his father tells him.
[big boys don’t cry crying is for girls and when people die]
[technically he is crying for a girl]
“Oh, baby. Come here.” She wraps her arms, encased in Wal-Mart fleece, around him. He gratefully embraces her back, smelling her cheap yet efficient and rather fragrant shampoo. “It’s okay, I’m sure she’ll be back.”
“N-n-n-o she woh-won’t, she wuh-wuh-wuh-was wuh-way up th-th-there.” He thrusts his finger to their meeting point, his mother shaking her head in understanding and pity. Even at his delicate age, he realises the essential separation of class, and that he is under the line, staring up longingly at grandeur and fine things he can only dream of.
[avoid pomposity like the plague]
“I’m sorry, baby. Maybe she will come back.” she lies, pained.
The little boy blinks at his mother, surprised at her apparent naïvety. “B-but, Moh-mommy, sh-sh-she had nuh-nice cl-cl-clothes. Do-do-doesn’t that muh-mean we c-can’t be fr-fr-friends?”
The innocence behind her son’s first real experience of life and its many slaps in the face makes this lady want to cry. “Yes, son, I guess you’re right. We’ll see what happens, huh? Why don’t you go and play with your friends?”
The little boy slides off his mother’s lap reluctantly, and saunters morosely towards his friends by the swings
[ain’t long ‘foh dem boys and guhls be doin’ illegul ‘tivitays rownd dem dere swings drugs de bain o’ de state dontcha kno]
who welcome him back with open arms and smiles.
[innit gud to have nuttin sho teaches ya bout life ‘nd how it ain’t always so easy as ya mat think]
“Where’d you go?” Kevin smiles at his best friend in the whole wide world. The only African-American amongst the children, he is not shunned but glorified because he, ladies and gentlemen, is 7 years old, ancient before his time in comparison to the 6-year-olds he is surrounded by.
[chillun sho have ways a teachin’ ya wha we should all be lak maybe we’s the ones ment tuh listun to dem maybe dey has de authoritay o’wa us ‘stead of de udda way ‘bout]
“I s-s-saw this g-girl and she s-sure w-was p-p-pretty! I w-wanted to m-m-make f-friends but then h-h-her moh-mommy came and t-took her away.”
“How come? Did she go for ice-cream with chocolate and rainbow sprinkles like at Costy’s?” One of the three girls (the group was even in that respect, three boys, three girls), a plain little child with straight, mousey-brown hair named Emma, speaks, an irregular occurrence for this shy little girl. ‘Costy’s’, or ‘Costello’s’ in full, is a very popular ice-cream parlour in this particular little town. The owner, obviously called Mr. Costello, gives his favourite customers both kinds of sprinkles. The kids adore him, the adults fear his somewhat ‘over-friendly’ attitude towards the children. They never think that for one second he is a genuine, caring person who simply wishes to serve the ice-cream-starved of this town. Anyone who is a nice person nowadays is either after something off you or has an ‘unstable upstairs’. Only the rich people, however, doubt his professionalism. The poor people like him and regard him as a friend.
[ain’t no pehveht just a nahce ol’ man never did hahm to no-one cut him slack you ain’t perfect eilla bub]
“I d-d-don’t th-think s-so. She h-had nice cl-cl-clothes.”
That sentence has all of his friends in understanding. They say no more on the matter; everything important is universally comprehended. They forget about their socialism lesson and resume playing.