Drama Friendship Kids

Perched atop the monkey bars, London and Amelia compared notes on their new teachers. Now in fourth grade, London had Amelia’s teacher last year.

Amelia asked, “You like Mrs. Eval?”

“She was so great. I learned a ton.”

“Who knew there was so much to know?”

“Yeah, this year feels kinda like reruns. Okay, I get vowels. We need them, I guess. But let’s move forward, okay?”

Amelia saw their friend, Daisy, lock her bike and enter the park. As if sleepwalking, her languid pace contrasted with the screaming children running about. A kicked ball narrowly missed her head. Eyes down, unaware of the swirling chaos, she moved aimlessly across the broad lawn.

“She doesn’t see us.” Amelia waved. “Daisy! Over here!”

London said, “She won’t hear you, Mealy. Too many rug rats.”

Amelia looked at her friend. “You mean like us?”

London cocked her head. “You think we have anything in common with them? Get real.”

Amelia waved again, but Daisy continued on.

“Let her go. I’m not in the mood.”

“We can cheer her up.”

“Doubt it. She’s the evil twin.”

“What? She’s an only child.”

“Exactly. What happened to her sister?”

Amelia shrugged off London’s nonsense. She climbed down.

“We’ll be right back.”

London sighed.

Amelia hit the ground running and caught up to Daisy.

“Hey, Daze! We’re on the monkey bars. Come join us.”

Daisy’s face softened. “Or the swings?”

“Sure. Great. Grab three. I’ll get London.”

Daisy shrugged. “No… That’s okay. Monkey bars are cool.”

Over her shoulder, Amelia called, “Race ya!”

A half-hearted jog was all Daisy could muster. She reached the monkey bars as Amelia mounted the top and sat next to London who observed the playground with detachment.

“Come on, Daisy!”

Daisy sighed and began to climb.

“London’s explaining fractions to me. She’s an arithmetalic genius.”

London rolled her eyes. Daisy grunted as she reached for the top bar.

Amelia continued, “Did you know that from a dozen eggs, three gives you a fourth? And with four, you get a third?”

Daisy said, “I’ll never get it…”

London stared into the distance. Daisy mounted the top bar and settled opposite her friends. Her hair wafted and she brushed it off her face.

Amelia looked at them expectantly.

Daisy said, “What’s up?”

London turned her face to the sun. Though all were dressed for a play day, London had style.

“Enjoying the day. How about you?”

Daisy looked down and mumbled.

Amelia said, “Want to swing? We can.”

“Maybe later.”

Amelia leaned in. “Are you sad?”

Daisy seemed to shrink. “I’m fine… It’s nothing.”

London said, “Talk to us.”

Daisy looked down. She swung her legs, as if running.

“It’s my folks…” She spoke almost whispering.

Saying it made it more real. She didn’t want to hear it.

“They okay?”

“Dad’s leaving. Think they’re breaking up.”

Amelia said, “Oh, no… Why?”

“…They were yelling.”

London grimaced. “Parents always yell. If they’re talking, they’re yelling. Doesn’t mean a thing.”

Daisy remained silent.

“When my parents got divorced, it got weird. Everyone acted so cheery, like a scary clown movie when everyone lies. ‘Hey little girl… want a lollypop?’ Creepy. I’m not stupid. You’re not stupid.”

Daisy bit her lip. “No one’s cheery…”

“I used to like the carnival, but I’m done with roller coasters.”

Daisy said, “I like merry-go-rounds.”

Amelia nodded. “And Ferris wheels…”

London nudged Amelia. She said, “They’ll say they love you and that you’ll always be their girl?”

“Yeah… a bunch.”

Amelia touched Daisy’s hand.

London said, “Things won’t change much, Daze.  My dad left. I stayed with mom. I see him every couple weeks. Go to a restaurant. He talks on the phone. It feels normal.”

Daisy nodded but didn’t speak.

“See your dad much?”

“Not that much.”

“When he has you, you get to watch the game with him. Just like always.”

“Oh boy…”

Daisy stared at the ground. Amelia and London looked at each other. Amelia shrugged. London gave a thumbs up.

London whistled until Daisy looked up.

“Question… Whose fault is it?”

Daisy looked confused. “Hmmm?”

“You know… Why are they splitting up?”

“Prob’ly ‘cause of me.”

London laughed and growled like a game show buzzer. “Wrong!”

“I’m expensive. I take up their time. They have to drive me...”

London giggled and poked at Amelia. “You hearing this, Mealy?”

Daisy slapped the metal bar she sat on. “I’m serious. They were close before I came along.”

London patted her on the shoulder and smiled warmly.

“Sorry Daze. Didn’t mean to joke. I know you feel like crap. But it isn’t you.”

“It is.”

“Come on… You didn’t just fall down the chimney. People… I don’t know. Trust me. It isn’t you.”

Daisy couldn’t answer.

Amelia said, “She’s right, Daze. You’re a kid. Grown-ups run stuff. Can’t blame yourself for their stupidity.”

“Maybe… guess I should go. Thanks, guys.”

Daisy moved to climb down.

Amelia said, “We’ll walk with you.” She moved off the bar where she’d been sitting and winced. “Ow! My butt hurts… Sitting too long. Coming, London?”

“Right behind you. Look out below.”

The girls stood at the base of the monkey bars. They stretched for a few moments. Daisy reached out to them, and they group hugged.

“Thanks guys. Bike’s over there.”

They walked toward the bike rack. Daisy unlocked its chain.

London said, “Something to think about…”


“Your dad got a girlfriend?”

Amelia shifted her weight like she wanted to run.

Daisy looked stunned. “Oh, man… I don’t know. Hadn’t thought…”

“If he doesn’t, he will.”

Daisy thought and nodded.

“Yeah… Maybe... Some stuff. Heard them arguing… Makes sense… I never…”

London swung her arm over Daisy’s shoulder. “Listen up. This hurts. No lie… But remember… You’re no victim.”

“What d’you mean?”

“Not only is it not your fault, but you have a say. They feel guilty. Might try to use you against each other.”

Daisy stared as what London said sank in.

“You’re smart, Daisy. Stop their games and get what you need. Don’t be a victim.”

“Wow, London. You’re right. Thanks.”

“But remember, this isn’t me talking. I got all this from... A ‘therapist’ my mom got me. Maybe talk to her.”

Daisy brightened. “Sure. But…”


“What do you charge?”

London shook her head. “You can’t afford me.”

They laughed.

Amelia said, “Want to come to dinner? Have a sleep over?”

London said, “Can’t. Dinner with daddy. ‘Nother time?”


Daisy nodded. “Have to ask mom. She’ll check with yours. You know…”

“Let’s do it.”

They laughed, high-fived and parted ways.

London watched Daisy and Amelia leave the park. She stood alone on the curb, for several minutes. Parents pulled up in SUVs. Laughing, jostling kids would pile in. It was fun to see happy reunions.

Shadows lengthened and the park quieted. London waited, watching for her dad.

Ginger, her father’s girlfriend, pulled up in her car.

She yelled through the open window. “Get in. We’re late.”

London climbed into the front seat. “Where’s dad?”

“Need to get you home. Sitter’s waiting. We have reservations. Our anniversary.”

London looked at Ginger’s sparkly, party dress. She bit her lip.

‘Again? This has to stop.’

London said, “I don’t want a sitter. Let me go to a sleep over.”

“No. She’s already booked. I’ve told you we need notice. No last minute changes.”

“I’m supposed to be with dad. When did I get notice about your anniversary?”

“It’s been coming for a year, London. You’re a math whiz. Do the math.”

London did not respond.

“Relax, London. It’s just one evening.”

“I could say the same.”

“I’m doing you a favor. You just end up watching some game.”

“You don’t understand.”

“Well, it is what it is. Not the first time. Won’t be the last.”

“Maybe a judge should look at this.”

“A what?”

“The guy who divvied up my parent’s time with me. I was there… My time’s with dad. Not some sitter.”

“Enough... You’re not going to sue me over one evening.”

“You can explain why dad needs less time with me.”

Ginger considered the obvious payoffs of less time with London. She decided costs would exceed benefits.

“What do you want?”

“Stop at home to get my stuff. Call and confirm with Amelia’s mom. Drop me and you get your play time... Win, win.”

Ginger pulled into their driveway. London dialed her cell phone.

“Mealy, it’s me. Sleep over still on? Cool. My stepmom wants to talk to your mom. See you soon.”

She handed her phone to Ginger and smiled.

April 18, 2024 21:05

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Bonnie Clarkson
19:51 May 28, 2024

Good story. Realistic ending. I didn't figure out that London was a girl until the 10th paragraph. I see more boys on monkey bars than girls. I thought London sounded like a boy's name. It is close to Landon so I assumed it was a boy. I don't think you need to change the name; just put in a she or her somewhere. Even though age wasn't mentioned, it was pretty clear what it was.


John K Adams
21:21 May 28, 2024

Thanks, I'll fix that.


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Faith Packer
22:56 Apr 21, 2024

The adults do the play time and the kids do the manipulating and therapy! London is my new heroine:)


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Alexis Araneta
17:46 Apr 19, 2024

John, an adorable story with great flow. Splendid one !


John K Adams
19:32 Apr 19, 2024

Thank you, Stella for reading and commenting. Glad you liked it. I always appreciate your support.


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Mary Bendickson
03:18 Apr 19, 2024

Good little negotiator.


John K Adams
19:32 Apr 19, 2024

Learned the hard way. Thanks for reading and commenting, Mary.


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Kim Meyers
01:16 Apr 23, 2024

London knows what she is doing! Loved the camaraderie of the kids.


John K Adams
14:14 Apr 23, 2024

Thank you, Kim. You're right about London. She learned the hard way. Thanks for reading and commenting.


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