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  • "Can I jump?" called a voice from the street.

    A woman leaned toward the passenger window in the car that just parked.

    "Can I jump?" she asked again.

    "You wanna jump?" Miss D called. "Come on up!"

    The girl climbed out of her car with high, high heels and a short, short skirt.

    "Are you going to jump in heels?" Faith asked, disbelieving.

    "Honey, you've got no idea."

    And she did. The girl from the car jumped and laughed, holding her breasts as she jumped and then giving up, giving in, jumping over the ropes that slapped the pavement.

    "I used to be the best," she said. "Double Dutch champ."

    The ropes were too light for a good double Dutch. Miss D shook her head and twined them to swing them together, and then, she handed the end to me. She jumped, too. At 61 years old, Miss D couldn't ignore the call of the ropes.

    Barbara - the 65-year-old Jewish woman from Florida who'd planned the night - couldn't figure out how to swing them. Dinaijah, so young, hadn't learned yet. Miss D, Faith and I took turns at the ends.

    The thought of jumping scared me. It always had but I still loved the rhymes. Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack... The sound of ropes and shoes slapping. Beads bouncing. Voices calling.

    I didn't mind swinging but Miss D called me out so I jumped, too. I ignored my fear. I ignored my limitations (though my body offered many) and I jumped.

    I was terrible at it. Terrible. Slow. Thoroughly thrilled.

    "Ours had plastic on them," I remembered. "To weigh them down?"

    "The plastic ones were the best," Miss D said. "You need the clack, clack, clack."

    The girl in the heels called to friends on the street.

    "I just jumped!"

    And the girl in the jeans and even higher heels took her place on the walk, laughing and turning as she jump, jump, jumped.

    Then, they left. The strangers who'd joined us went back to the car and drove away.

    Mathew and Miller drew on the sidewalk. Barbara called rhymes. I kept swinging alongside Miss D.The girls kept jumping. Nobody wanted the night to end.
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