“Boys don’t cry,” Sam was saying as he walked his latest crush, Roxie Richards, home from school. Sam was a bit of a playa, even in the fifth grade, and his friends teased him endlessly for ditching them to pamper a cute girl. But Sam didn’t care. He was born for love, and some day his friends would understand.
“You never cry?” Roxie asked, eyes the size of the moon.
Sam shook his head defiantly. “Never.”
“Have you ever cried?”
“I used to when I was younger, but I’m a grown-up now, and you never see grown-ups crying, do you?”
“You’re not a grown up! You’re only ten!”
“My grandpa says I’m mature for my age,” Sam said, holding his head high.
Roxie crossed her arms and frowned. “I don’t believe you!”
“Just ask your dad. Boys don’t cry.”
Roxie didn’t answer right away, but grew quiet, almost sullen even. She refused to look at her friend as she said “I don’t have a dad.”
There was a pause as Sam thought about her words. He let out a soft “oh.”
They walked the rest of the way to Roxie’s house in silence, Sam beating himself up for assuming everybody’s family was the same as his. Lesson learned, he thought, as he prepared himself to never see this beautiful girl again. Surprisingly, however, Roxie turned to face Sam as they approached her door, and asked with a smile in her eye, “Will I see you tomorrow?”
Sam stuttered a little trying to get out his next words, “It would be an honor and a privilege to walk you home tomorrow, madam,” and as he said it, he bowed as fancily as he could. This elicited a wide smile from Roxie, which quickly turned into a gleeful giggle, before she hid her embarrassment by turning abruptly and opening her door. And as it closed behind her, Sam heard her yell “mom, I’m home! I made a new friend!”