BEST OF FRIENDS

Mark Johnson
4 min readMar 14, 2023

Donald rode swiftly on his BMX bike through the neighborhood. He was making a b-lines route on a perfect day for a bike ride to his best friend Mario’s house. They had been friends since they shared lunch in elementary school when Donald didn’t have one. Mario called Donald to tell him he had some urgent news and if he could come to meet him at the park and out the door, Donald was in a flash.

There could be a few reasons Mario would make that call to Donald, and as Donald thought, it made him peddle faster. Yes, he could have asked for more details while on the phone, but that could have led to the message being interrupted by his older brother Kyle, his nosey sister Kaye, or worse, his Mom, so Donald was glad he reacted as he did.

What did “urgent” mean on this fine temperature day for this situation with Mario intrigued Donald’s mind continuing to pump his bike to a full sprint down the paved roads of the neighborhood, sweeping past and around cars as they came his way. The thoughts in Donald’s head grew, expanding over several topics.

One overpowering thought was that Mario had finally made it with Tracy, a girl he had eyes for since the start of the school year; Donald was dying to know all the details, hoping to gain a few pointers when the time came for him with the girl of his choosing, Now Tracy, she was from the neighborhood she was a year older than both Mario and Donald. And somehow, Tracy was much more mature and developed than girls in their grades. She was known to see boys from the local high school, a rumor that made both Mario and Donald put her on a pedestal consciously or subconsciously.

Tracy was also the type of girl who had a reputation. No one could say for sure, and no one was saying it with 100% assuredly; it was just in the air that she was “advanced” for an 8th grader developed as she was. The way Tracy dressed and carried herself, there was reason to believe. It didn’t help how she toyed with guys and always sought attention. It all could be part of her growing up and becoming a woman, and all the “stories’ could be rumors, people thought.

Yet as Donald peddled as if it were for his life, he could only imagine that his boy Mario would tell him how he made it with an older woman. Donald knew who Tracy was and that she had moniker no girl wanted surrounding her from the day he first saw her walking the halls of his Don Julio Junior High, wondering who she was, later coming to a realization Tracy was not his type as she was the all American white girl, Donald of mixed race wanted ‘chocolate girls” Mario was a bit different; he was only into white girls.

This fantasy continued to fuel Donald’s travels to the park, dearly wanting to hear it come to life fantasy story Mario would tell him when he arrived. If you hadn’t figured it out, Mario and Donald were firmly into their puberty years, and the topic of girls was always a spicy one, which somehow made their bond closer.

Donald was now in an eyeshot of Mario’s house crossing through the park would get Donald there even sooner, so that was the path he took. He even saw Mario walk out the front door of his house and head to a park bench where they had chatted about numerous things in their years of friendship, calling it their roundtable.

Donald pulled up as Mario sat at the bench, both of them smiling from ear to ear. Donald propped his bike against a nearby tree as they greeted each other with their signature handshake since elementary school and sat down.

In that moment of pause, the smile on Mario’s face dropped. Donald, at that point, was confused. He began to question Mario, believing this was a time he would or should be happy, having gone from a virgin to non-virgin. Still, Mario just looked at the table, twisting up a twig in his fingers. The silence grew as Mario set Donald straight regarding Tracy stating nothing had happened, deflating Donald’s fantasy.

After that moment had passed, Mario looked up. He had to deliver a more sobering message letting Donald know his parent had decided to move the family. The entire day’s build-up had now hit the bottom floor. Donald, still a little out of breath from the ride over and anticipating a joyous story, lost his breath, realizing the absolute truth behind the urgency in that his best friend in the world would be moving away.

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Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson is a University of Chico graduate, a lover of the creative arts, avid photographer, with an undying entrepreneurial spirit.