There was a boy named Meredith and a girl named Hunter. They were best friends and they were eight years old. They were always together. When people met them for the first time, they always asked, “Who’s Meredith? And who’s Hunter?” Meredith really liked being a boy with a unique name: his friends called him Dodo (which supposedly is short for Dith in Meredith). Hunter really liked being a tomboy: she loved it that teachers taking roll-call on the first day of class always expected her to be a boy. Hunter could run faster than most boys and could lift heavier items than most boys. Meredith was an exception.
They had been best friends for a long time, and Hunter was very competitive. If she had an idea for a race or a tree climb or a contest for the number of times she could bounce a basketball without stopping, she surely got Dodo involved. They usually played and ran and raced and threw well enough, but sometimes there would be arguments about who really threw the farther baseball, and who really touched the seesaw first. Then, Dodo and Hunter often pretended to be upset at each other, and each went home to have dinner. But the next day after school, they were at the competitions again!
One day, Dodo asked Hunter if she wanted to see who went higher on the swings. They had done this a million times before, but this time, Dodo was in a teasing mood, which actually suited Hunter just fine.
They got on the swings and Dodo said, cautiously, “You’re kicking ok – for a girl.”
“Just you wait, Dodobird, ’till I’m kicking over the swing line and you’re still licking the ground.”
“Oh, yeah? I’m licking the ground? Well, who wore girl sneakers to the park today?”
“Certainly the person who’s still down there in love with the ground while I’m flying high.”
They threw happy insults back and forth like balls over a tennis net – they both liked the volley and they both had plenty to contribute.
“Maybe you want to run home and tell your mom that I’m beating your butt like the hero that I am?” Dodo threw out at her, swinging himself harder and higher.
“Maybe you want to run home and tell your mom that you’ve been beaten by a girl and are crying about it,” Hunter came back at him, also swinging herself harder and higher.
“Maybe you want to go home and get a watermelon to bury your head into from the shame of losing the game you’re best at?”
“Maybe!” said Hunter. She jumped off the swings, and landed on her feet in a low squat. The momentum of the jump kept moving her forward, and she was pushed by her body movement forward onto one knee. She immediately stood up, dusted off that knee, and walked away from the swing set. Dodo jumped off too, and ran after her.
“Wasn’t your ‘Maybe’ really a ‘Yes’?” Dodo asked expectedly, his only offer of truce.
And then, Hunter made a choice – a tomboy choice or longtime-friends choice – who could say what kind of choice it was? Hunter said, “Absolutely. Most of my ‘Maybe’s are ‘Yes’s. You’ll have to come over to help me take the watermelon off my head.” And with that, Dodo laughed while Hunter tagged him and ran off, looking behind her.