B as Boys
''Boys ... boys ... '', Candy was kept saying the word, over and over again in her mind, but she always would come to the same conclusion. She would never, understand boys!
Although she, had all sorts of reasons to be able to understand them, it turned out that even her, Candy White Ardley, she wasn’t going to understand them ever!
She couldn’t but to wonder, especially about herself, how a girl such as her, had come to that conclusion! If anything else, she’s a girl entirely different from the rest! At first she was thinking, that growing up with several boys together, one would normally think that she’d know them better than any other girl. But that… was totally false eventually.
She was capable to climb up the trees much better and faster than many boys. She could throw a lasso so skillfully, that might envy her even young cowboys. As well as her riding ability, it lacked anywhere! Okay, she had spent a period that didn’t want to hear anything about horses, but when she overcame her fear, she became again - in her personal point of view - a fearless amazon! As related to running, she didn’t know many boys who could catch her up. Even in fighting and punching, she was very good! Yes, about that… she knew that it wasn’t the best talent for a girl whom supposedly was training to become a proper lady; but inside her couldn’t help not feeling proud that she was able to protect herself! So finally, she reached once again to the same wonder, why if she’s as capable, perhaps even more to certain cases, as boys, not to play soccer with them?!
Oh! Yes, Candy might say with absolute sincerity, that a lively girl like herself, who loved action and therefore exercising - and therefore sports - was enchanted from the English football; from the first moment she saw the boys’ team of the school training.
When she had come to England to study at the College of St. Paul, her knowledge about sports, were those she knew from America. But she had the good fortune and misfortune at the same time, to know in college about sports that not even knew were existed. Cricket, polo and the most amazing of all, as Candy believed, the English football!
She was finding it, incredible thrilling and she’s so much excited about it; almost charmed by this sport. Of course, she didn’t have many opportunities to watch it; more by sneaking, when she was hiding up on a tree and behind the lush foliage, she was gazing the boys’ team kicking that magical leather ball! Even more certain was, this little secret habit of hers, she’d not confessed it to anyone! Not even her friends. She was absolutely sure, that Annie and Patty would be shocked unbelievably, not only with her habit of secretly to watch the training sessions of the boys, but mostly if she would confessing, that she wanted to participate herself at some point!
But the idea of soccer like a virus, day by day made Candy, more and more careless. At classroom, many times she was daydreaming and fantasizing herself running on that green field, kicking the ball and… oh! What a moment, the minute the ball was going into the net from her leg! As a matter of fact, one day, within an intense fantasy she nearly cried "Goal!’’. But ultimately, she was left with her mouth into an expression of that was forming a perfect O and with Sister Margaret telling her to stand up and recite them the “O blest Creator of the light!’’, since Miss Ardley had shown obvious signs that wanted to be expressed poetically!
From all of these, the last thing she expected Candy, was one day someone to catch her. However it happened, and in fact by the person whom she wanted more to hide, Terry.
It was a day pretty cold. The weather was quite dry and hinted that very soon the autumn would be leaving to take its place the winter. This made Candy to snuggle as best as she could with her cape and nestled on a tree branch to watching the training.
From time to time, she’s throwing a glance at the book that had with her, but that, would be wonder if she’s read even a single line. Today's training didn’t have a particular interest, she noticed. Due to the cold weather, many of the boys either they were cold or were absent because they had catch a cold. Her cousin Stair had caused her a lot of laughter. He was playing in the position of goalkeeper, due to his height more, rather his ability, as she’d once again noticed Candy. And if in most cases he was simply funny watching him trying to ward off the ball, today as snuffly as he was, he’d reached the point of being hilarious! The result was to make his fellow players either to get bored, to get angry like Archie, or even rolling on laughing, in the case of Terry.
But with this and that, Candy lost track of time. The trainings were once a week; at the same time that the girls had classes of housekeeping, artistic, or simply were allowed to do only one sport, horse riding. With this excuse, she had managed all that time to be sneaking and secretly following the soccer’s training. However, she always took care of to be on the path from the stables to the girls’ dorms, precisely the moment the bell rang. By this trick, she didn’t risk to be discovered that in fact, she almost never went for horse riding.
However that day, when the bell rang, Candy was still on the tree branch; the students, but above all the nuns, were already moving to all outdoor areas of the school. With terror, she thought that she had to flee from there as fast as she could; and because she had no time to take her usual route, she thought to jump from tree to tree and through the soccer field, to reach at the back side of the stables. So even if someone might catch her, she’d have the excuse to say, that lost track of time while riding!
While pleased with her thoughts, the moment she took one last jump and fell on the grass, where until recently the boys played soccer, she didn’t notice that exactly behind her was standing, Terry.
- " You train your jumping skills again, Freckled Tarzan?!’’
Her fright was so sudden, that although she knew Terry’s velvety voice and moreover knew that he was the only one calling her that name, completely spontaneously she left to escape a typical girlish scream. The laughter of the boy that followed her scream, was so strong that caused her to blush with anger, shame and fluster; and to almost to emit smoke from her ears. However, she answered him a rather dry No! and attempted to avoid him; She didn’t had time to start chatting with him, not because she didn’t wanted, but because she didn’t know what excuse to say to him there that he found her!
- "... well, you know it's kind of waste… ", told her when he saw that she was about to slip away.
- "Eh?! What’s a waste?! ", Candy fell into his trap before she knew it.
- "... Not taking part in the circus! Would be the best show I think! Not to say quite rare ... you know, blonde freckled monkey jumping from tree branch on tree branch! Unique spectacle! I would pay to see it, although I'm lucky and I enjoy it for free!’’
- "... well ... good for you! Gotta go, bye!’’, replied to him indifferently and it was one of those rare times, that Candy succeeded and left him speechless. Terry couldn’t but wonder why his words didn’t anger her! She got used so much his teasing, that she was leaving her completely indifferent?!
With a fast move he placed his palm on her forehead. Candy was taken aback but didn’t move, she stayed to look at him surprised. His hand wasn’t cold though the weather, but rather warm and somewhat a little damp, possibly from training. Therefore, definitely it was also dirty, thought Candy and then pulled back even more surprised!
- "Terry, what are you doing?!’’
- "... Checking… if you have a fever ...’’, he replied practically focused on her face and his fingers went to re approach, this time her freckles and her cheeks.
- "Don’t! Your hands are dirty and sweaty from football!’’, called out to him with a grimace,’’ I'm just fine! I don’t have a fever!’’, she added intensely.
Terry’s eyes popped and his palm stayed hovering somewhere near her face. A light pink color, made his flushed from the exercise cheeks, to be dyed nearly red. Candy noticed it and her eyes opened up even more than Terry’s.
- "Eh… I didn’t… want ... to be ... sorry ...’’, she tried to apologize when realized that probably had offended him. What she didn’t however understand, was that Terry wasn’t offended but in some strange way, he felt ashamed! She had seen him training. Candy saw him playing football; definitely she had seen a side of him which himself didn’t reveal to her yet. Until now he had shown her, his serious character… that he could be sarcastic with Archie, teasing with her, rude with nuns, brave with Neal and his clan. However, he never had shown to her that he can be a simple boy, like all the other boys. That he, like all boys, enjoyed playing football, he made funny moves and could participate in any foolishness they boys do! In his mind, he didn’t done that on purpose. Probably his same, boyish nature, prompted him to show Candy that he was different from all the rest; that he was special and Candy ought to acknowledge that and admire him!
And then…he reacted just like all the boys react…
- "If you mind a bit of dust on your face, then you should stop climbing up the trees! These things are only for boys and not for petite girls who are screaming from fright!’’. Said pompously to her face, although he knew that, firstly Candy wasn’t a simple girl, whom was shivering her own shadow and secondly he was so…lying and he was showing it!
Candy was left speechless and didn’t know if she had to get angry with him. If she was telling him that she wasn’t a girl like the other the girls… she would shown herself as the Tarzan girl, he called her. If her answered was that simply didn’t want dust on her face and apologize to him for her insult…that would be as if she’s admitting his words; that she’s nothing but a coward chit whom shrilled! And in these thoughts, she added a third. He had found that she watched his training. Therefore, Candy remained silent.
- "You don’t answer eh?!... You know what ... from now, I stop calling you freckled monkey! As of today… I will call you goody-goody chick! Like your friend… the other goody-goody!’’
- "Terry! ", finally Candy said loudly.
- "Little goody-goody chick, don’t Terry me! And all that… my name is Candice White Ardley!’’, he mimicked her voice, "…and tell me, why you're here and not in the class of housekeeping, as they do all goody-goody chicks!’’
That was the icing on the cake for Candy.
- "First, yes my name is Candice White Ardley and I will say it as many times as I want! When I wish, I'll shout it too! I will also, continue to climb on trees, because that’s the way I like it and it’s not your matter to care! Secondly, I am not a chick! And I don’t like housekeeping’s classes and neither Annie is a goody-goody! Last… I find it unbelievable unfair only the boys to play soccer!’’, she shouted without even taking a breath and clenched her fists, as if was preparing for battle.
- "Thank God you came back! This is the Freckles that I know!’’, said Terry through his laughter, ".... Hold on, you said just now that you want to play soccer?!’’, he asked surprised and his laughter was cut short.
- "... Yes, I can’t see what’s wrong to want to play too…’’, she stammered through her teeth. It was pointless to denies it longer, " ... it’s also unfair! Why the girls not to participate in these sports?! Why should I have to just learn how to cook and sew?!’’, Candy continued with passion.
Terry, who in the meantime had forgotten that she, had seen him and all that he thought afterwards, was looking at her calmly; till the moment his boyish mind, imagined her dressed in a uniform similar to the one worn by all the boys at the time of training. And then he stopped to listen. The thought that Candy could be dressed in their tight uniform, running on the field… and all the other boys to stare at her, made his blood to surpass his own skull!
- "Freckles!’’, he cut her abruptly, " ... whoa! Stop for a minute! Don’t you think you got-up-and-go now?!’’ ''
- "Pardon me?!... What do you mean?!’’
- "I mean, Candy, it’s one thing climbing up on trees, occasionally to stretching your legs and complete different playing soccer!’’
- "What’s the difference may I ask?! What’s wrong with wanting to play, Terry?! Are you implying, that I'm not as capable as you… to play?!’’
Terry paused thinking about that…That was the wrong…she was quite capable to do it!
- "No, you're not!’’, he lied.
She looked at him with narrowed eyes, not believing what he said, especially Terry.
- "Ok… Only if you tell me, why you believe this, I would give up any effort to play!’’, she shot back more stubborn than ever.
- " I'll tell you, though I'm sure you won’t like it! Soccer is only for boys, Candy! Only!’’
- "Only for boys eh?!! ?! … Then why do you call me Tarzan?!’’
- "I thought you had figured out why, but it doesn’t matter ...’’
- "It doesn’t matter what?!’’
- "It doesn’t matter that you don’t understand, because you are girl!’’, he answered annoyed and stick out his tongue.
She looked at him puzzled.
- "Decide! I am a girl or a Tarzan?! '', asked him mockingly.
- "In order to end it here, once and for all, listen well! Candy, from today, you are… a girl… and you are quitting the climbing and the soccer!’’, told her strictly, he turned his back and Candy never found that his last thought, the time that he was walking… was the " my " he’d added to the word… girl.
"Boys!’’, Candy said to herself and shrugged in amazement.
Can you guess the word?!