Little kids' promises? They're pretty legitimate. There isn't really any sneaking around them, no ways to avoid them. Because if a little child looks up at you and promises, REALLY promises from the bottom of their soul, that you can play with the pirate ship next time, they mean it. (Unless, of course, they break the pirate ship. In which case, they believe the dragon action figure will please you just fine). Because there's an innocence to a child that will never be captured in adulthood. A pure, sweet innocence that makes their promises just as pure. Just as sweet.
25 YEARS AGO
Tony, a little scrawny 5-year-old with messy hair and a rather large ego, shoved his friend as hard as he possibly could into the grass.
"Hey!" Felicia's tiny voice squeaked as she skidded into the freshly cut plants. With Tony chuckling behind her, Felicia turned around and tried to brush the grass stains off of her shirt. No such luck. Grass stains obviously didn't brush away easily. Maybe the washing machine would be able to brush the grass stains off; the washing machine seemed good at that.
"Tony!" She whimpered dramatically, throwing her fists into the ground. "You said you wouldn't push me anymore!"
"Sorry, Fella!" Tony was still rolling with laughter, gathering a few grass stains of his own onto his toddler striped polo shirt. "I won't do it again, I swear!" Felicia grimaced at her nickname. 'Fella'. Ever since Pappa called her that ONCE, when Tony's keen devil ears were near, he picked up the dirty habit of calling her by it. Sometimes she wondered if he even remembered what her name was.
Tony reached out one small hand and struggled to help Felicia back onto her feet. They both sat down together, Tony squishing ants resolutely and Fella gazing thoughtfully at the sunset. At least, as thoughtfully as a five year old could manage.
"Mom told me I had to be back home by dinner." Fella turned to Tones and watched for a moment as he crushed an ant in his fingers while muttering 'DIEEEEEE….' But when he processed what she said, he stopped causing insect destruction and turned to her with worried eyes.
"Can't you just stay over for dinner again? My dad wouldn't mind." Tony offered simply. Felicia turned around and stared at the mansion behind her. Its many windows glinted down at her in the reflection of the red sun.
"No, Mom is making chicken fingers tonight. I can't miss that. You have to understand, right Tony?" Fella asked. All she wanted was for Anthony to say 'yes. Come back tomorrow, please.'
"Yeah." He said. "I wouldn't wanna miss chicken either." And it was back to squishing ants. Felicia stared at him again. For one moment. Then two, which turned into three, until he caught her gaze. "Why are you lookin' at me so funny, Fella?" He squirmed slightly under her pressurized stare.
"You and I are gonna turn out great as older kids, aren't we?" She asked.
"I'm going to grow a beard." Tony stroked his chin, which made Felicia crack into a bundle of laughter. "No, really, I am! I want to!"
"You're never going to leave, Tony, are you?" Felicia's voice dropped to almost silence, and she picked at the grass stains on her shirt. "I don't want you to leave."
"And let you alone on the sidewalks with the paint? No way, Fella! I'm never going to leave you! Imagine all the boys that would pick on you. Like Thomas." They both shuddered a considerable amount and muttered, "Ugh, Thomas."
Felicia turned to him with her eyes glazed in genuine concern. "You have to promise me, okay? You won't leave?"
"And if I do, I'll come back all the time."
"Okay. Pinky promise?" Felicia held up her smallest finger, extended in a pleading to her best friend. Tony locked pinkies with her immediately.
"Pinky promise. You and I are going to turn out swell, Felicia. We'll be just fine."
The wind swirled by their faces, and Fella struggled to keep a hold of her thin, golden hair. The breeze rushed by, whispering "If only."