In the Name of Love

November 9, 2007
By
It was, to most of the second graders, just another delightful recess on the blacktop playground. The spring sun smiled from above without a cloud in the sky. Some children climbed on the jungle gym, others went back and forth on the swings, and others participated in an intense match of hopscotch. However, these all paled in comparison to the granddaddy of them all: four-square.

Around the four-square court was a long line of kids, all eagerly waiting to show their worth. They watched keenly as four opponents faced one another in battle royal, and they would sometimes serve as referees, should the combatants deny their fate. To the victors went the glory of advancing through the coveted arena spots, and to the loser went the shame of sulking all the way to the back of the line.

Jimmy participated in this game everyday, sometimes performing exceptionally well. While the honor of maintaining a spot in the game was fine, it was not why he played. That long line of kids did not compare to the one girl he wanted to impress—Melody.

Ever since that one blessed day when Melody was willing to share her lunch with him when he forgot his, Jimmy knew he was in love. Today, she stood in front of Jimmy in line as they observed the game at hand. Her brunette hair, complete with a pink flower clip, reached down to her shoulders, which were covered with a matching pink t-shirt. This ran down to her sky blue shorts.

Austin, the toughest guy on the playground, made mincemeat of each challenger in sight. He snickered through his untamed blond hair as he sent victim after victim packing. There was no force strong enough to break his incredible streak as he stood on the first square. Game after game, Jimmy slowly approached the moment of judgment. Eventually, Melody walked onto the court.

“Good luck,” Jimmy squeaked from behind her, wondering why it was so easy to talk to everyone except his favorite girl in the world.

“Thanks,” replied Melody with a smile.

She poised herself in the fourth square and looked Austin in the eye as he executed his serve. Jimmy, watching from the sidelines as the feverish match went underway, crossed his fingers and his eyes to bring Melody good luck.

After numerous hits amongst the squares, Austin smacked the ball in Melody’s direction, and it looked as though the first bounce may have been out-of-bounds. Yet, Austin argued that it did hit the square, and the line of kids dared not question him. Though flustered, Melody acquiesced, retrieving the ball and handing it to Austin. As she began her dreaded walk to the back of the line, Jimmy assured her, “Don’t worry; I’ll get him for you.” Melody gave him a wide smile and looked him in the eyes for the most amazing three seconds of his life.

Still feeling the warmth of Melody’s kindly smile, Jimmy stepped onto that court ready to put Austin in his place. Sure, the bully may have had raw power on his side, but there was one thing Jimmy had that Austin could never comprehend—love. Through Jimmy’s imagination went images of defeating that colossal foe, all in the name of love for Melody. She would admire him from the sidelines and finally realize that Jimmy was the man of her dreams. No force could ever hope to subdue such a passionate affection.

Austin readied his serve, and Jimmy looked him in the eye, just as Melody had. As he watched, Jimmy had his feet rooted in the ground, his hands ready for the hit, and his heart burning with passion. Austin took one last look at the ball and then bounced it off the ground. All of the contenders eyed the ball as it reached its peak just above their heads. Austin made a fist and then ferociously spiked the ball—right into Jimmy’s face.

Thrown backward, Jimmy hit the hard blacktop on his elbows and then lay on his forearms. His world was for a moment merely a dark blur; nonetheless, he could still hear Austin’s malicious crackling and feel all of the eyes upon him. He leaned forward onto his knees and used his legs to slowly arise. As all of the other victims had, he began the long trek to the back of the line. The amused kids soon returned their attention back to the four-square court as Jimmy, fighting back tears, looked at his scraped and bleeding elbows.

Just as he was ready to break down and weep, he heard a voice in front of him.

“Hey.”

He turned his head up, and looking back at him were those same adorable brown eyes from just minutes ago. However, they too seemed to be on the brink of tears.

“Hi,” Jimmy replied, trying to sound sturdy like a man.

Melody tilted her head to the side, smiled, and kept her eyes on him.

“It was nice of you to try to get him back for me,” she said.

His face suddenly as red as his elbows, Jimmy could not think of anything to say, so he just replied with a little smile of his own.

“Need any help getting to the nurse?” she asked.

No, his legs were fine.

“Yeah, my legs hurt,” replied Jimmy.

So, humiliated and bruised, the wounded soldier walked away from his battlefield. Yet, as his love wrapped her arm around him as they ambled forward, he decided that he was the luckiest guy in the entire world.





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