Twelve year-old John Toe watched his friend, Boy Ezekiel, also twelve, with interest.
“Let’s play marble,” John said.
Boy smiled. “I play marble very well and I know I can win against you.”
John grimaced at his friend’s challenge. “Let’s just play and see who will win.”
Boy crouched and made the sign of a diamond on the ground and with a grin urged his friend to join him. “I beat my brother, Willie and collected all his marbles yesterday.”
“I think he allowed you to beat him,” John charged.
“That’s a lie,” Boy defended.
John, laughing crouched beside his friend, ready for the match.
“How did you beat your brother yesterday?”
“I had five marbles,” Boy said, demonstrating the number of marbles counting his fingers. “I aimed and hit all his marbles.”
“How many marbles did you win?” Toe said. “Where are the marbles you won?”
“I hid it in my secret place.”
“In your house?”
“Your brother, Willie, will not see them?”
Boy turned to face his friend, “I know how to hide things and so he doesn’t see anything I hide in our room.”
John considered his answer for a second and said, “I used to know how to hide things in our room, but my little brother always find my marbles.”
“I can teach you how to hide things.”
“How do you do it?”
Boy held his friend’s chest with his two hands, and said, “Before we play our marble, let me explain something to you.
“Anytime you get a marble or someone gives you five dollars, don’t tell anyone that you have something like that.”
“Even my mother?”
Boy said, “’I don’t mean your mother. She has money and she always gives you money for school.”
“Yes,” John said, “my mother buys me a candy and cool aid and she says she will buy me a bicycle when she gets money.”
“Ok,” noted Boy, “that’s why you can’t lie to her. I’m talking about your little brother, Joseph.”
“That little boy is five years old,” John said.
Boy went on, “Ok, whenever you get money or some marbles, find a place in the room that you are the only one to know.
“When you to hide your marble, don’t let Joseph follow you before you hide it.”
John replied, “You don’t know that boy, he can creep behind me.”
“I know what you must do.”
“The next time you get a marble,” Boy said, “just make sure that your little brother is not hiding behind you. When you enter the room, turn around or make sure that he is with your mom playing outside.”
“Ok,” John said, “why you know such thing that big people suppose to know?”
Smiling, Boy gazed at his friend and said, “Do you believe that I am able to beat my brother Willie in a marble game?”
“I think I do.”
“Can we play the marble game now?” Boy said.
John said, “It looks like you have already won the match.”
“You really believe me about what I told you to hide your marbles and even your money?”
“I think so,” John said, “because only big people can know what you told me.”
Smiling, Boy said, “My father taught me.” John felt his breath shortening, for his mother told him his father walked away from home, when his little brother was six months’ old. He never understood why he left, and therefore felt envious of his friend, Boy, whose father had been around to teach him some tricks that only big people suppose to know.
Looking at his friend’s worried face, Boy said, “I never saw your father before.”
“You are lucky,” John said, “when I get big, I will not leave my children.”
“My father said if we don’t lie and do what is good we can grow up and become good people and also help our country.”
“Did you father tell you that?”
By now John’s eyes were filled with tears, and his friend, Boy, moved closer to console him.
“You can come to our house and my father can teach us many things,” he said, as John’s eyes glistened with excitement. John had always felt sorry for his mother, for working too much to even send him to school. He felt however glad that his friend had promised to let him meet with his father.
Hand in hand, the two friends walked towards their Logan Town residence, and John was excited to meet a father who would help to make become wiser like his friend Boy.