Kendra Carson knelt on the gray sidewalk, bent over in concentration over her work. She held a piece of green sidewalk chalk in her hand, squiggling with care on the rough surface to make a picture on the gray slab. Her cheeks had chalk stains streaked on them, but she didn’t know, and if she would have known about it, she wouldn’t have cared. The late morning sun shined down on Kendra, making it seem like her long red hair was glowing in the light. She wore a white blouse with short sleeves that bunched into small poofs around her upper arms, and had brown hemmed shorts match. Kendra’s sandals sat by her sidewalk chalk box, not too far away from her.
Kendra’s left hand rested on the warm sidewalk, while her right hand was busy at work, finishing up the drawing she started. At last, Kendra sat up, done with her drawing. Kendra let go of the green chalk and let it clunk on the walkway while she looked over her drawing. Wiping the back of her hand across her mouth, she smirked at her work. Nine year old Kendra accomplished drawing a green bunny on the park’s sidewalk.
Kendra’s shoulders suddenly slumped as she felt the loneliness take over again. None of her friends could play today, so she was alone at the park. All of the other kids she saw regularly at the park were too busy playing games Kendra really didn’t want to play. All Kendra wanted to do was draw. But drawing alone wasn’t as fun as thought she would be.
Sighing, Kendra tucked a stubborn loose strain of hair behind her ears, making more chalk streaks on the side of her face. That’s when she felt a pair of eyes watching her.
“Hm?” She turned her head to the side, suddenly spotting the someone she felt was staring at her. It was a boy, around Kendra’s age… But this wasn’t just any boy, this was Tristan Ren.
All parents told their kids to stay away from this boy. He was the son of a man who was a drunker and a liar and cheater, and a woman who rarely came out of the house. Tristan was known to cause trouble at school. He always got into fights, and he refused to respond to any of the teachers. Since the little town that he lived in only knew the father, the town’s people came to a conclusion that the son was no better. The other kids were taught to avoid Tristan like the plague. They didn’t want their sons and daughters to be influenced by his “negative behavior”. And if any of the kids were caught hanging out with the likes of Tristan, they would get the same treatment as the poor boy and get a good lecture from their parents.
So, as soon as the Tristan realized Kendra caught him staring, he quickly ducked his head and looked away from her.
Kendra, seeing this, furrowed her eyebrows in confusion. Kendra seemed like the only one who didn’t understand why everyone hated Tristan. The fights he got into at school were because some other boys started it and were the ones who were beating him up, and the reason why he didn’t respond to anyone was because well… Kendra saw that nobody would respond to him. That suddenly gave Kendra an idea…
Kendra looked down at the pieces of chalk scattered on the sidewalk. Spotting her favorite one, the red chalk, Kendra grasped it along with a piece of blue chalk and stood up from her spot on the sidewalk. She then made her way over to Tristan, who sat under the shade of a grand oak tree. She felt the coolness of the grass as soon as she stepped onto it with her bare feet, but she kept walking towards Tristan. As soon as she was about three feet in front of him, she stopped and stood in place in front of him, looking at him.
Tristan knew that Kendra was in front of him, but he was so hesitant to look up at her. His black, shaggy hair curtained his eyes. He wore a black hooded sweater, despite it being a warm day, blue jeans that were ripped at the knees, and worn out sneakers to match. Kendra was patient though, and smiled a bit at him, not minding Tristan’s ragged appearance.
“Hello there,” she said quietly to not startle him.
Tristan winced as though he’d been slapped by an unseen hand. He pulled his knees up to his chest, still not looking at Kendra. He was afraid, very afraid. Kendra wasn’t about to give up yet though.
She crouched down in front of him, watching him carefully. “My name is Kendra,” she said, still smiling. “I come here a lot, and well… I’m a little lonely today. I was thinking, well if you want to…” Kendra sighed, seeing that she was stumbling on her words. “What I’m trying to say is… do you want to draw with me?” As though on cue, Kendra held out her favorite red chalk out to Tristan to take.
Stunned by the sudden offer, Tristan gradually looked up until his eyes rested on the red chalk. Then he looked up at Kendra until he met her eyes. She wasn’t showing hostility or fear like the other kids; she was actually showing kindness to him.
“You want me to draw with you…?” Tristan asked his voice very quiet.
Kendra grinned, giggling at that. “Sure! Why not?”
Tristan stared a bit longer at Kendra, watching her carefully. Then seeing that it wasn't a trick, he took the red chalk from Kendra’s hand and then leisurely stood. “Alright…”
Happy with the response, Kendra took Tristan by the hand and led him to the sidewalk where she was previously working on her artwork. The two children then dropped on their knees, and began drawing with each other, Kendra all the while.
This small scene started to attract others… Soon, Kendra and Tristan had spectators watching them as they both created art on the gray sidewalk. As the minutes ticked on, more and more kids burrowed chalk from Kendra’s box and started drawing along side of the two original artisans. Everyone was happy, and everyone was getting along with the boy they treated as a plague in the passed.
Soon, the kids that joined Kendra and Tristan earlier gradually left them until it was just the two of them. The sun was starting to sink in the western sky, and it was about time for Kendra to head home.
Both of the kids stood up and looked down at the sidewalk. It was covered with all sorts of drawings like kittens, space alien battles, clouds, rainbows, sunshine… but there was something that caught Kendra’s eye.
It was a picture of a boy, who looked like Tristan, and a girl, who looked like Kendra, holding hands.
Kendra looked up at Tristan to see him looking at her.
“Kendra,” Tristan started, “thank you… Thank you so much. This has been the best day in my life… You have no idea.”
Kendra just simply smiled at this boy she barely made friends with on this day. She didn’t even care about the consequences that were to follow the next day. And that reminder her about something…
“Tristan, I want you make a promise with me.” Kendra’s face grew very serious as she stared at her new friend. “Promise me that no matter what happens after today, we’ll always be friends.” And to seal that promise, Kendra held out her right pinky, still covered in sidewalk chalk, to Tristan. “Pinky swear on it.”
Tristan was caught off guard by this. For a few seconds, he just stared at Kendra’s pinky, wondering what to do with it. Then he looked up at Kendra. She was frowning in seriousness, and still had her pinky extended out to him. Finally, Tristan latched his own pinky to the girl's. Then he shook it a little, sealing the deal.
A small smile gradually formed on the boy's lips.
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