When the school bell rang ending recess, we all walked towards the entrance of the school building to get back to our classroom.
At Holy Name, going outside for recess was our gym class. We didn’t have a gym to call our own.
“Are you coming to the schoolyard after school.” She asked me as we walked side-by-side.
“Yeah, are you?” I answered, not making eye contact with her.
“Yep, I’ll be there.” She said as she leaned closer to me, grabbing my hand and holding it as we walked into school.
“FINAMORE, LET GO OF THAT GIRL’S HAND!” I heard a teacher shout.
I quickly let go. One thing you didn’t want to do is get caught holding hands or kissing a girl in school.
At 3:00 PM, when the bell rang at dismissal, I sprinted down the stairs and across 9th avenue. I dashed up my apartment stairs and changed out of my school clothes. Trousers, tie, shoes, black socks and white dress shirt. I threw them on my bed.
Every day after school I would grab my basketball and walk to the boys schoolyard, but today was a bit different. As I walked down the stairs to our apartment, I ran across the avenue and jogged down Windsor Place, hanging a right on Howard Place. Dribbling my basketball up Howard towards the entrance of the yard, I passed kids still coming out of school. I made my way towards the first basket and started taking some shots…alone.
After each attempt, I would glance over at the entrance of the yard.
Soon, a few male friends arrived so we began a game of three-on-three. After the first game, we walked over to the fence on Howard Place and took a seat.
“What time is it?” I asked my buddy Jimmy.
I got up off the ground and walked over to the entrance of the yard and glanced down Howard Place, towards Windsor Place.
“C’mon Red, you playin’ or what?” John Godfrey screamed out to me, as a few kids were waiting on me to start another game.
I walked back to the court, not so eager to play. I didn’t feel too enthusiastic about playing. I had gotten my hopes up too high about her coming to the yard.
Maybe she had homework to do? Or maybe her mother wouldn’t let her out after school?
In our neighborhood, parents made their kids do their homework after school, but not mine.
It was also possible that she didn’t like me anymore, I thought to myself as I checked the ball and we began to play.
We played a few more games, at the conclusion of each, I walked over to the entrance to have a peek down Howard.
“Jimmy, what time ya got?”
Peturbed, he looked over at me.
“Why you keep askin’ me about the time, you got a date or something?’
Yeah I got a date, a date that isn’t showing up I thought to myself.
The sun was going down, it became a bit cooler and I could see people outside the schoolyard walking up Howard place from the train station, on their way home from work.
Before we left for dinner, we began a game of taps.
I volunteered to go outside; you know I was crazy now because no one ever wanted to be outside when playing taps.
Walking outside, glancing down Howard Place for about the hundredth time, hoping she’d appear.
No such luck.