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Stories by Laura Lagana
The Birthday


Levi sat on the front porch, watching the movers unload the moving van. He rested his chin on his hands and sighed, hoping there might be a little boy his age that he could play with.

His mom Julia stepped onto the porch and handed him a glass. “Here, drink your milk. Are you going to play?”

Levi shook his head. “No, I’m watching the neighbors move in.”

She shrugged her shoulders and went back into the house to start making supper, leaving her son to his thoughts.

A few minutes later, a mini-van pulled up. A little boy with red curly hair and chocolate brown eyes dashed from the van into the house. Levi perked up at the sight. He stared at their door, curious for another glimpse of the boy. A few minutes later, he was rewarded for his patience.

The boy opened the door, holding a black and white checkered ball and bouncing it off his knee. His gaze fell on Levi, who sat on the porch.

Julia came back out to take the now empty glass of milk. She saw the little boy across the street. “Why don’t you go over and make a new friend? You’ll have someone to play with instead of sitting on this porch all day.”

He shrugged his shoulders and grumbled. “What do I say to him?”

“He’s playing with a ball. Why don’t you ask him if you can play a game with him.”

Levi hung his head, afraid to approach the stranger. “Okay.”

Julia went back into the house hiding the smirk at her son’s shy behavior.

Levi shuffled his feet as he crossed the street, stopping a few feet in front the boy. “Hello. My name’s Levi. What’s your name?”

The boy scuffed the tip of his shoe on the dewy green grass of his front lawn. “Jonathan. I’m from Scotland. My family immigrated to America.”

“Do you have any friends?”

Jonathan shook his head. “Our plane only arrived this morning. My father came to this country earlier and sent for us once he had a place for us to live.”

Levi smiled. “Want to play?”

Jonathan gave his new friend a shy smile. “I got this ball for my birthday today. Would you like to play soccer?”

Levi narrowed his gaze at the ball. “Never played before.”

“Would you like to learn?” Jonathan tossed the ball into the air a few times.

“Sure.”

He spent the rest of the afternoon teaching Levi how to play soccer. Levi’s mother poked her head out from behind the door, yelling for her son to come to dinner.

Levi handed Jonathan the soccer ball. “I had fun. Want to play again tomorrow?”

Jonathan accepted the ball and nodded. “Tomorrow I will teach you to hit the ball with the top of your head.”

“Sounds fun to me.” Levi turned and ran into the house, waving good-bye to Jonathan.

The door slammed shut behind Levi as he walked into the kitchen and joined his parents at the dinner table.

Julia scooped a large spoon of peas onto his plate. “Did you have fun with your new friend?”

He grimaced as the tiny green balls rolled around his plate. “Yup. His name is Jonathan and he’s teaching me how to play soccer. He got this cool soccer ball for his birthday today.”

“Did he have a birthday party?” Julia ate a mouthful of mashed potatoes.

“No. They flew here today from Scotland and didn’t have time to have a birthday party.” Levi shoved his peas to the side and took a bite of the meat-loaf.

“That sounds depressing. I think I have an idea.” Julia went on to explain while Levi finished his dinner.

“Sounds good to me.” He gulped down the last of his milk.

“Now eat your peas and then help me get everything ready for Jonathan’s surprise.” Julia stared at Levi, making sure he ate every last pea on his plate.

The next afternoon, Levi and Julia crossed the street and knocked on Jonathan’s door. His mother Kate answered the knock.

“Hello, my name is Julia and this is my son Levi.” She patted the top of Levi’s head. “We are your new neighbors and want to invite you and Jonathan to our house this afternoon.”

 Kate glanced at Jonathan and then at Julia. “We would like that very much.”

Half an hour later, Jonathan and Kate were knocking on Levi’s door.

He yanked it opened. “Come on in.”

They followed Levi into the living room.

“What is all this for?” Jonathan pointed at the streamers of blue and green hanging from the ceiling.

Levi showed him the cake sitting in the middle of the table. “It’s a birthday party for you. Since you didn’t have yesterday, my mom and I wanted to give you one today.”

Jonathan gasped, taken aback by the gesture. “Thank you.”

Julia served the cake and punch, taking the time to get to know Kate. Jonathan opened the gift that Levi gave to him, which was soccer net. When the party was over, Kate and Jonathan thanked Levi and Julia for the party.

Walking out the door, Jonathan turned to Levi. “See you tomorrow for another game of soccer?”

Levi grinned. “You bet.” As he closed the front door, he turned back toward his mother, giving her a hug.

Julia wrapped her arms around him. She was so proud of her son and he finally had a friend to play with.


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