Virginia was black and Bucky was white. They were in the second grade. It was 1954.
Virginia was absent from school for two days. On the third day Bucky worried about Virginia. He thought about her all day. Her empty chair was no emptier than his heart. He missed her answers in class, her smile, her walk; her presence.
On his way home from school Bucky searched for pop bottles to cash-in at Sonny’s Grocery. He found five and cashed them in for ten cents. He bought two Mars Bars and ran to Virginia’s home.
He knocked and Virginia’s mother came to the door.
“Yes,” she said smiling.
“My name is Bucky,” he said. “I’m in Virginia’s class. Is she still sick?”
“She’s fine now,” she said. “She’ll be back in school tomorrow.”
“I got a candy bar for her,” Bucky said. “Can I give it to her. I got one for myself. Can we eat it together.”
Virginia’s mother smiled uncomfortably. She looked around as if being coerced into something illegal.
“Perhaps you should go home,” she said.
“Could you give Virginia the candy bar?” Bucky said.
Suddenly Virginia appeared at the door beside her mother. Her dreadlocks hung like bananas. Her dimpled smile that Bucky missed caused him to miss his breath.
“I got this for you,” Bucky said handing the candy bar to her.
Her delicate hand started to reach for it and stopped. She looked up at her mother. Her mother smiled and nodded. Virginia smiled and politely accepted the candy bar. “Thank you,” she said.
“Can I come in?” Bucky said.
“You better run along,” Virginia’s mother said looking around once again.
“They’re good with milk,” Bucky said. He smiled at Virginia and left.
Where their walk parts the hedges and meets the sidewalk that runs in front of Virginia’s home Bucky stopped and turned. Virginia stood in the front window. She brushed aside a dreadlock that hung on her cheek and waved. Bucky smiled and winked. Virginia winked and suddenly the dimple appeared.
Bucky ran home in love.