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Changing Innocence

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The summer of 1930, my whole life changed. I was six years old and thought I was on top of the world. My parents had fairly stable jobs; my dad worked for the government and my mom a waitress, which meant I could attend school everyday to learn. Momma said I was always so blessed because colored kids didn’t always get to go to school. She always pushed me to make friends, but I was never very good at it. But that summer, I met the girl of my dreams. Cadence was beautiful in every way you could imagine as a six year old. With the typical white blonde hair and crystal blue eyes that pierced your very soul, her skin was milky white porcelain. I was hooked that minute my dark eyes saw her at the white kids playground. She was by herself in the sandbox underneath the cherry blossom tree. I peered around to make sure no one was watching and I scurried over to her.

We were so naïve then, simply making sand castles and saying the occasional word or two. It seemed she was just as shy as I was which was good for me. Soon after we had started, her friends walked by, pointing and laughing, conveying messages through their eyes to each other.

“Don’t you pay attention to them Maison, ya here?” she said to me. I looked down in shame and nodded.

It seemed hours had passed when we were startled by loud gunshots ringing through the air. We saw people running down the streets, mothers scrambling to pick up their children, men protecting and getting people to safety. My mother and Cadence’s mother came running up at the same moment.

“Get up Cadence. How dare you play with someone like him,” her mother tersely exclaimed. Cadence grabbed my hand and vowed to never let go, but my mom yanked me away, tears streaming down her face.

“Maison, we have to leave. Now,” my momma’s voice quivered, “there are people coming after us. They…they already got you…your father,” she wailed, “he’s gone.” My mom’s body was wracked with silent sobs, trying to be strong for me.

“Mommy, it’s ok, mommy,” tugging on her wrist, “ the angels came to take him. He’s here with us. Mommy, Daddy said the angels would take him.”

Cadence and my fingers started to slip, our grasp weakening. Her eyes caught mine. We’ll meet again, they said, this isn’t the end. Have faith.

Sixteen years later we still haven’t found each other. Despite the colors of our skin, that day Cadence and I put everything behind us and, against all odds, forged the impossible. A friendship that would define who we were for the rest of our lives.





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