Bobby wasn’t sure what he wanted to do, so he went into the kitchen where his mother was working. He watched a moment, then wondered out loud if he could have something to eat. His mother gave him a plate of ginger cookies and a glass of milk. He took them outside and sat on the front porch. He found it pleasant to sit in the afternoon sun, nibbling on a cookie and listening to the sounds of his mother moving around in the house. He looked down the street interested that someone he knew might come by and visit.
As Bobby ate his cookies, Johnny was walking towards Bobby’s house, enjoying the sounds his feet made as they crunched and swooshed the leaves on the sidewalk. He noticed Bobby and the plate of cookies, but he didn’t know Bobby very well and wasn’t sure if Bobby liked him. He thought about what it would be like if he walked up to Bobby and started to talk. He imagined that Bobby might not offer him any cookies and he could feel how uncomfortable he would be if he had to ask Bobby to give him some. And what if Bobby said, “No?” Or worse, what if Bobby didn’t want to share but let him have some cookies anyway? Johnny felt awful just thinking about it. So as he was moving past Bobby’s porch he said, “Hi Bobby” and sort of hoped Bobby would invite him to stay and eat cookies and play. But though Bobby smiled and looked friendly, all he said back was, “Hi Johnny.” Johnny smiled back and walked on home, feeling vaguely empty. He went into his room and played with his dog and his trucks and waited for dinner.
Bobby was still on the porch munching cookies when he noticed Richie walking by. Richie knew Bobby a little and he noticed the cookies right away. “Hi Bobby, can I have some of your cookies,” he grinned as he walked up the path to the porch. “Sure”, said Bobby, “just a minute.” Bobby went inside to get some more cookies for Richie. Bobby’s mother poured another glass of milk to go with them.
Bobby and Richie sat on the porch in the afternoon sun enjoying the ginger cookies and listening to the sounds of the neighborhood and of Bobby’s mother moving around in the house. After a little while, they began to play in the yard, wrestling and laughing and throwing leaves on one another.
A few blocks down, Johnny grew tired of playing with his trucks. He went into his backyard and began to throw a stick for his dog to catch. He wished he had someone else to play with but he didn’t know how to make that happen. So he stayed in the yard, throwing the stick, feeling a little sad and lonely and not understanding why.