Samar watched her through the bushes. The small figure was sat on the curb with her bare feet tickling the road. She was hunched over the pavement, picking up and arranging small stones, then re-arranging them. The way she examined them closely, bringing them close to her face and feeling the edges, as though what she was doing was of the upmost importance. She was definitely beautiful, he knew that much. Her dirty long hair did nothing to diminish that face, oval and smooth, with those almond eyes and curved lips. Samar knew he loved her. Could children love? He didn’t know. But the warmth, the air sucked from his lungs as he watched her sat in the dirt told him that he did.
He turned away from the entrancing spectacle and looked at his hands. Rough and covered in dirt, he rubbed them on his rag and smoothed his lank hair to make himself more presentable. He knew that she was special and sighed. He was sorry for what he was about to do. He turned his eyes back to the girl as he prepared to make his move; but she was gone. He cursed to himself; he had missed his chance. He knew he couldn’t leave without making contact. For weeks he had watched her from his spot, admiring her, tracing her features with his mind. He brushed himself off and was about to stand when a voice, a stern, suspicious voice came from behind him;
‘What you looking for then boy?’
Samar stood and turned slowly.
‘I, er, I ain’t looking, I was just si-sitting here.’ He stammered
‘Oh yeah? Not looking? I know you were watching me, I saw you. What you want?’ Her voice was hard, her eyes, a blazing jade, were fierce. He could barely speak.
‘I-I’m sorry...I just wanted to...play...’ His sentence drifted into the wind as he nervously looked to the floor.
‘Oh.’ Her face softened and lightness returned to her eyes. ‘Why didn’t you just come over? I ain’t doing nothing.’
‘I dunno, just thought you wouldn’t like me I guess...’
He was recovering. He saw in her face that the suspicion was fading; he knew exactly what to say.
‘Come on then, I guess we can play. But we play my game, cos you’re in my street, outside my block and I make the rules.’
Her abrupt commands did not startle Samar; in fact he admired her all the more for it. He smiled shyly and stumbled on his words,
‘Yeah, o-okay, we can do that.’ Was his well placed reply.
She smiled back and took his hand. He knew that she was too kind to keep up her tough facade for long.
‘Come on then. I’m going to be a great tough warrior and you can be the dragon I have to slay. I’ve got some sticks I can use as a sword.’ She declared excitedly.
It was obviously some time since she’d had a playing partner. It didn’t surprise him. He had watched all four of his younger sister’s die. She was probably no different. Slums were dangerous places.
She then ran off towards her doorway and leapt inside. A voice trailed her path.
‘Come on then boy! I have to fetch the water soon, let's start the game, quick!'
He sighed heavily; then followed. He was in.The game had most certainly begun.