“That point doesn’t count,” Andy shouted as I jumped around the ping-pong table doing my victory dance. “You leaned over the table to hit the smash and that’s an illegal move. We have to redo the point.”
I looked up at him making my puppy dog eyes, knowing they would work as usual.
“You know I can’t reach if I don’t lean over it. I’m short and little,” I said.
“Oh no, your cuteness isn’t going to work on me this time. I’m not losing to a little girl.”
His words angered me to no point. I had been practicing over the last year with my brothers so I would be a real challenge and he still saw me as a little girl. “I’m six, I can’t not be cute,” I shouted as I threw my paddle at him and stomped up the stairs out of his basement – and my favorite place in the world.
Even though I hadn’t seen him for five years, I had been thinking about Andy Khan since moving to Philadelphia for school. Our dads were best friends since the second grade and our families would get together at either our home in Alexandria or his in the Philly suburbs. We were best friends until it became inappropriate for us to be. I was 13 when my mom subtly hinted that I should hang out upstairs with the moms instead of following the boys out to play. I had been expecting her to say something any day now as I remembered Andy’s big sister was about my age when she stopped hanging with the boys. From the way he refused to look at me, I was fairly certain his mom had a similar conversation with him, too. Philadelphia lost its appeal without him and I stopped visiting with my parents. Eventually, I went abroad to boarding school and he went away for college. We both forgot we ever knew each other.