Matilda McRudy was no girl.
Matilda McRudy was a woman: long, muddy locks of mousey, brown hair; eyes the deepest blue speckled with sunshine green; braces that made sunshine dance even in winter’s lazy afternoon; and the largest furriest monobrow that you could just nuzzle for hours.
“But why?” whined Tommy Tucker. “Why do you have to punch me?”
Tommy Tucker, unknown to me last year (but now my sworn best friend in second grade), pre-emptively cowered on the ground. A thin tear rolled down his face and mixed with the dirt and sand on the schoolyard floor.
“It’s obvious, isn’t it?”
“No,” he whined again, quietly removing his glasses for the impending smack-down.
“— McRudy,” he finished.
“Women like Matilda are attracted to strong, powerful men —“
“You’re two and a half months younger than me!” he wailed.
“— Strong, powerful men who can fight crocodiles, forage for food, maybe start a fire.”
Tommy Tucker lifted himself on into his elbows and screwed up his face in that way he gets when he’s about to whine. “Then why can’t you do one of those things?” he whined.
“Tommy, Tommy, Tommy… do you see any crocodiles?”
In a last desperate effort to save himself, Tommy Tucker actually looked around for a misplaced crocodile that may have wondered in as if by some happy accident. He then sighed, slumped his shoulders, and even sounded the first half of the word “No” when the vision of loveliness that is Matilda McRudy appeared as though she were carried on the backs of angels.
Our eyes met as I yelled the manliness words that had ever been said, “This is Sparta!”
Matilda McRudy’s eyebrow arched in surprise like a startled caterpillar, only to come crashing down moments in a disapproving frown. She turned to her perfectly formed nose up into the air as she marched away from me and towards our teacher, Mr Freeman, to tell him of what she’d seen.
The abject failure that was me tumbled to the ground beside Tommy Tucker.
“Owww,” whined Tommy, holding the side of his head.
“Owww,” I whined, holding the broken pieces of my delicate heart as the towering figure of Mr Freeman marched towards us.