Kiki, The Boy, and the dog
Posted with Kiki’s permission:
I first became aware of The Boy sometime last Fall. When Kiki talked about her high school friends, The Boy’s name occurred with increasing frequency and always in positive terms. I first met The Boy when we changed Kiki’s post-school pick-up location. He was standing there with her, talking and laughing. He and I did no more than wave at each other, but it was nice to put a face to the name I’d begun hearing. Kiki spent the whole ride home telling me about funny things The Boy had said and about how nice it was to have friends who were boys.
Every day for months The Boy stood with Kiki, talking to her while she waited for me to arrive. He brightened her day and always had a cheery greeting for me. I liked him. He seemed nice. Upon my assurance that she was welcome to invite friends home even if they are boys, Kiki invited The Boy over to our house. On several different afternoons they spent gleeful hours shouting over games of Halo, Brawl, and Castle Crashers. Kiki growled fiercely at her siblings if they dared to do anything which she deemed even remotely embarrassing.
So it continued, and I watched. Kiki is fifteen. The Boy is a few months older, he is in the same grade. They stand together on the lawn, talking. Or sometimes they sit close together (but not quite touching) when Kiki has had a bad day. He listens to her, and I think he is sometimes bewildered by her tears. The fact that he listens makes Kiki feel better.
Today, on Valentine’s Day, I pulled up to see Kiki holding a little stuffed dog. The dog was tucked self-consciously, protectively in the curve of Kiki’s right arm. She saw me and began to gather her things. The Boy walked her to the car as he always does. I smiled, waved, and commented on his hair which he bleached over the weekend. He smiled and waved back. Kiki closed the door and turned to me.
“So did The Boy give you the dog?”
“Yes.” Kiki’s grin was near to splitting her face. “It was waiting for me in 2nd period, on my desk. I was late, so everyone looked at me come in. Then I had to ask, in the middle of class, was it for me?” Kiki’s hands rubbed the dog’s soft paws. “I’ve carried it all day. And I keep fiddling with it. The paws are so soft. All my friends keep telling me The Boy likes me. I guess he does.”
The dog was brown and white. It carried a little stuffed heart with the word “love” on it.
“Yeah.” I said. “I’m pretty sure he likes you.”
“His mom made him get the dog for me. She drove him to the store and told him to pick out something. He wasn’t sure what to get, so she said a bear. He decided on the dog and a Hershey bar.”
Apparently I’m not the only parent observing from a respectful distance as these two sweet, geeky kids hang out together.
Kiki rubbed the paws again, then realized she was doing it. She gave an embarrassed wiggle “I’ve been holding the dog all day and my friends laughed at me, but I liked holding the dog. It’s all so complicated.”
Yes it is, and Kiki has only begun to scratch the surface of how complicated relationships can be. I’m just glad for Kiki and The Boy that neither feels inclined to rush. They both have lots of growing and learning left to do.
Upon our arrival home, Kiki proudly showed her stuffed dog to her siblings. They wanted to know what she intended to name the dog. She answered that she did not know. Once they left, she told me she probably wouldn’t name the dog. “That would feel weird.” she said to me quietly. Now the dog sits on her shelf where she can see him easily, and maybe reach up to touch a soft paw when she wants to.
Mirrored from onecobble.com.