You look up at the sound of Sally calling your name. She is clinging to the fence, looking over the top at you from her garden.
‘Mum says you can come over for a bit, but just a bit ’cause dinner will be ready soon.’
‘Yeah.’ You drop to your knees and go to wriggle through the gap. ‘Sally, your legs are in my way.’
‘Oh.’ She shifts them open wider. ‘Better?’ she giggles.
You crawl through them. Her legs are shaking because she’s giggling. It makes you giggle, too.
‘Come on. Let’s play in the den.’ She grabs your hand and drags you towards the bushes at the back of her garden. Both your hands are sweaty and it’s hard to run when you’re being led like that. At the bushes, she ducks and crawls through. You follow, still holding her hand. The branches snag at your clothes but you’re in the hollow before you know it. ‘What shall we play?’
‘I know, I know. Let’s play “doctors and nurses”.’
You grin but you have a funny squirmy feeling inside you. ‘OK.’
‘Oh, Doctor Mike,’ Sally says in her squeaky nurse’s voice, ‘I think I’m sick.’
‘Oh no. What’s wrong?’ You use your deep doctor’s voice.
‘I don’t know. I think you’ll have to exam-in-nee me.’
‘OK. I’ll check your heart first.’ You put your hand on her chest.
‘You can’t feel it through my shirt, silly.’ She unbuttons her school blouse and pulls it down over her shoulders. There are two slight swellings around her nipples. You are suddenly too hot. You remember what the teacher said about girls’ and boys’ bodies changing. You’re eyes flick up to her face. She is watching you, grinning. ‘Come on, you have to listen to my heart.’ She grabs your hand and presses it into her flesh.
You squirm then take your hand away. ‘Your heart sounds fine, Nurse Sally. You can do your shirt back up now.’
‘I still think I’m sick, Doctor Mike.’
‘Yeah, it hurts.’
‘Where does it hurt, Nurse Sally?’
‘Here.’ She yanks her knickers down to her ankles. Starting to giggle, she grabs the edges of her school skirt and lifts it up then pulls it back down again. You giggle too but you feel embarrassed. ‘Now you have to show me yours.’
”Cause I showed you mine. Now you have to show me yours.’
‘Come on, Mike. I showed you mine now you have to show me yours.’
‘OK.’ Your hands are really sweaty and they’re shaking a bit. You hold the zip for your fly. Sally giggles again. You do, too. You tug it open and pull out your willy then stuff it back into your pants. Sally giggles so much, she nearly falls back into the bushes. That makes you laugh even harder, so that you nearly fall over.
When you’ve both stopped falling about with laughter, Sally looks at you funny. ‘Let’s do it.’
You burst with giggles again. So does she.
‘Sally! Dinner time.’
You both run out of the den and across Sally’s garden. You make for the hole in the fence, scramble through and run back to your house.
Your mum looks up from the oven as you crash inside. ‘There you are. Your dinner’s just about ready.’
‘Are you all right, sweetie?’
‘You look a bit flushed. What have you and Sally been doing?’
You grin. ‘Just playing.’
* * *