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Boys and Girls
Jarod sat on the bench, eating his chips. A good, really good day. Cold but with a blue sky and no clouds, neither one. He liked these winter's days with a touch of spring in it.
The park was rather crowded: little families, grandfathers with grandchildren, mothers with daughters, fathers with babies, boys with dogs and couples in love and friends, everyone seemed to enjoy the good weather. Jarod smiled. He was glad without a reason but he didn't care and kept on eating, looking around himself.
The boy sat beside him on the bench, didn't seem very happy. Jarod looked at him secretly: brown hair, green eyes, thin and tall as a man, but his face showed his real age, thirteen or fourteen. He was deep in thoughts apparently sad.
And this was unpleasant for Jarod. A boy, so young, didn't have to be sad, it wasn't right.
What on earth could be the reason of so much pain? He followed the direction of the boy's gaze and almost laughed. The boy was sad for the oldest reason of the world: on the other side of the little park, almost on the street, three girls were chatting and laughing.
And seeing how he was tapping his foot and biting his mouth, it was clear that one of them had won his heart.
Jarod felt the need to help him. But how? He was a pretender, yes, a genius, certainly, he could become everyone he wanted, sure. But he needed informations to do a simulation.
And he couldn't tell to be an expert about love and relationships and the art of courting women.
Jarod sighed and said "It's a hard job."
"Excuse me?" The boy asked politely.
"Women. Understand them. It's difficult."
"Yeah." The answer was almost a moan.
(Oh God, he's really down!) thought Jarod.
"It's like a game, you know?, like Scrabble or other."
"A game?" asked the boy, a bit confused.
"Uh-uh. Want some?" Jarod offered the chips. And the boy took some.
"You see,...mmh...your name?.."
"Jarod." And they shook their hands.
"I was saying... when you play a game, you have to know the rules, otherwise you can't absolutely win, right?" Tony nodded as he took other chips.
"Those young ladies" and Jarod pointed to the trio with his chip "know well the rules. I don't know how. Maybe they hand them down from mother in daughter, maybe they have them printed in their DNA, but it's a fact: women know the rules of this game."
Tony seemed very interested and nodded slowly thinking about what Jarod had said.
"And ... what are these rules?" he asked.
Jarod sighed again. "This is the trouble. Men not only don't know the rules, but don't know even when the game is started. That's why we cut poor figures and never understand what happens and say always the wrong thing."
Tony seemed hopeless, now. "And then what have I do?".
"You try however to reach for her heart, telling her sweet words, sending her presents or poems." Jarod looked at the poor Tony. "Which is the one you love, of them?" he asked.
"The one with long, black hair and the red jacket." The boy blushed only talking about her.
"Good taste. She's really pretty."
"She's the prettiest of the school, she have dozen of suitors, guys smarter and better than me. She will never notice me." Tony was angry and discouraged.
"You don't have to think in this way. You too are a smart guy."
"But not enough. I try to say something interesting or other, but I end always to say bullshit and everybody laughs. My friend Peter only snaps his fingers and girls run to him."
Jarod patted his shoulder. "Not all the girls want a boy who calls them with a fingers snap. And many girls like to laugh. Really."
Jarod felt sad, him too. Tony was right: it's difficult say the right thing with girls. Use the wrong words and you destroy every hope to find love. He tried to remember when he was of the Tony's age. But it was different.
For him, and for Parker too, it was a question of loneliness, not of love. At the beginnings, at least. Then, things were changed, before they could... Jarod drove the thought away. He still suffered for what happened, and didn't happen, between Parker and him.
"I know it doesn't relieve you, but your problem is the same of every other man."
Tony looked at him and saw his sadness. "Have you too a girl who's driving you crazy?"
Jarod sighed and nodded.
"Have you ever tried to tell her about your feelings?"
"It's not so easy."
"My father says that is never easy, with women."
"Your father is a wise man."
They both stayed silent and still. The three girls took their bags and made their way out the park. The girl with the red jacket walked more slowly than her friends and stayed back.
Then she turned her head, stared at Tony and smiled. A sweet smile that lighted her face, breathtaking.
"Wow!" Tony gasped "She ...has looked ..at me."
"Yeah!" smiled Jarod.
"She has looked at me, Jarod, she has noticed me" Tony stood up, his hands on his own chest. "She has smiled at ME!"
"Yes, my friend, I've seen it."
The boy became frantic "And now? What do I do? What do I tell her?"
"Calm down, Tony, for now there's nothing to say. She's gone."
Tony turned to search the girl. Vanished.
"But tomorrow you'll see her and you'll approach her. You'll be kind and gentleman, and you'll make her laugh and everything." Jarod smiled again, glad for his young friend.
"No buts, no ifs and no maybe. Be yourself. It's you the one she have smiled."
And Tony smiled, him too. "Okay. Thanks, Jarod."
"I've done nothing."
"Wrong" said the boy, counting on his fingers "You have listened to me, you have given me some advices, you have cheered me up, you-"
"Okay, okay, I've got the idea. You're welcome, Tony."
They shook their hands, smiling to each other.
"Hey, Jarod. Will you try to talk with your girl, now?"
"I don't know. You see, she's the kind of woman that give you a punch on your nose, if you say something wrong."
"Wow! She seems to be really dangerous." Tony was impressed.
"Yeah!" On Jarod's face appeared a wide grin. "That's why I like her!"
"Well, you could write her a letter, by letter she can't hit you."
"Uh-uh. But she knows many ways to hurt me." And Jarod thought about her voice, her smile, her eyes. Her gun.
Tony seemed confused "I don't understand. Do you love each other or not?" The two walked out the park.
"What your father says? It's never easy, with women"
"Yes but it's worth trying. My father thinks also that women are something special and a man, without love, can't be happy."
Jarod nodded "As I said before, your dad is a wise man."
He shook again his friend's hand "Good luck, Tony."
"You too, Jarod, and listen to me, write to her."
"I'll think about it."