I am at the school with Mia, baking cookies. Our tiny workspace does not offer much room. It’s hot and stuffy thanks to our two cookie ovens in which we will bake about 400 cookies.
I open the back door that leads out to the large, welcoming playground. Seattle is being generous by gifting us a nice cool rain. Rain or shine, these kids have recess. Rain is a staple here, learning how to play in it, even more so.
Mia is busy cleaning and counting cookies. I stand in the open doorway, waiting for the influx of kids that will soon be on the playground. Some will play on the monkey bars, some will play tetherball. Some of the girls will take cover under the archway, making sure not to get their hair wet.
A few teachers will come into our tiny working space, asking if it is too late to buy cookies. Mia and I never turn them away.
The overly high pitched recess bell is just about to ring. A couple of teachers allow their students to exit the very doors that will lead them to fifteen minutes of recess time. In a matter of seconds, it will be a madhouse.
Standing in the doorway, oblivious to the fact that Mia is doing all of the work, I take my jacket and wrap it tight around me. It’s colder than I thought, yet, it feels good. You can smell the Seattle rain mixed in with the aroma of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.
In the distance, I see one class is already out.
A boy and girl are racing. You can tell they are racing. The girl who is in the lead keeps turning around to see if the boy is catching up to her. They are both running, running so fast, with their end goal in sight.
The basketball court.
This faceless girl, she has amazing form. Even from my faraway vantage point, I can tell she not only has the making of a track star in her, but the confidence to go along with it. I cannot take my eyes off of her.
The girl and boy both reach the basketball court. The girl won the race. There does not seem to be any hard feelings.
If you listen close enough, close enough with your eyes, you can hear their laughter.
Seconds later, they are greeted by fellow classmates. A group of eight are sharing the ball, making baskets and missing. Throwing the ball without a care in the world. I am still watching the girl, the only girl. She is making these boys look bad, bad in a good way.
Mia comes out.
“What are you doing?”
I take a step away from my own archway that was protecting me from the Seattle drizzle.
“Look at those kids, the ones playing basketball. That girl, she is pretty badass.”
Mia comes by side. She is holding a pan of freshly baked cookies while looking in the direction my eyes are telling her to.
Mia and I stand there is brief silence, watching this group of eight play basketball. None of them have a care in the world.
Mia, ready to head back inside to get the cookies bagged up, she looks at me.
“I told you so.”
The girl just made another basket. I can tell by the high fives the boys are giving her.
Mia looks at me, laughing.
“I told you if you just let Sofia be, she will show you who she really is.”
I am, confused.
I look closer at the group of kids playing basketball.
Slowly, I take about ten steps towards the basketball court, trying hard to make out the face.
Mia was right
It was Sofia.
And, just like Mia said,
it had been Sofia all along.