It may seem silly to some, but Peggy took all superstitions seriously. She observed all the classics, of course – not stepping on cracks; being careful to avoid breaking mirrors; walking around ladders.
She was giving a bad penny a wide berth on the way home from school, when a voice came out of the cherry blossom tree nearby.
All of Peggy’s books dropped as her hands shot up to her mouth to accompany her gasp. There, stretched out in the tree, was a long-limbed boy, about her age, but nothing like her – she was all wide skirts and ponytails to his black leather, cuffed jeans, and white bandana. He pulled backwards at his greasy, midnight-black hair, looking down at her.
“Why’d you do that, kitten?”
“I was about to ask you the same question,” she huffed. “If you were any kind of real gentleman, you’d help me pick them up.”
“Gentleman? I’ve rarely been mistaken for one.” He slipped out of the tree all the same, gracefully and silently. He padded over to Peggy as she picked up her books. “Back to my question, baby doll. You afraid of that penny?”
“Well, it’s bad luck, isn’t it?” Peggy said. He was pure confidence, sweeping back his hair again with his hand.
“You believe everything you hear, pretty girl?” His eyes twinkled the purest green she’d ever seen, though they seemed small and stretched back. They also seemed to laugh at her.
“Are you an Oriental?” she asked, then regretted it when he laughed, out loud this time.
“I’m not exactly directionless. I tend to go whichever way my lucky scarf blows.”
“Does it work?” she wondered.
“How about you take it and see for yourself.” Before she could agree or protest, he was tying the white bandana around her neck. Then he started swaggering away. “Be careful you don’t trust too much in luck, baby girl. You never know when a black cat will come along and change everything. Oh, and Peggy?” He winked over his shoulder. “You’re standing on a crack.”
A glance at her feet confirmed it. “How did–” she started, but when she looked back up, he was gone.