Hot sun beating down on the playground,
Children run and scream in frenzied play.
Cool shade behind the shed hides us from the teacher’s view.
It was in our history book we heard about it,
About Indians and blood and promises.
We conspired to become blood sisters, connected forever.
Someone found a sharp rock, roughly shaped like an arrowhead
With the significance of that in our head we scratched it across our wrists.
No blood appeared only red marks and nervous giggles.
A rusty nail was discovered in the dirt.
Anxious glances were exchanged with 8 year old seriousness.
Pushing the nail into her skin, one brave girl draws a drop of blood.
Each in turn pokes herself with the nail and a grimace.
Solemnly the blood is shared as wrists are rubbed together.
In a low mumble, vows of eternal friendship are declared.
With age sometimes comes wisdom.
Along with lessons learned of respecting promises, honoring oaths
And keeping tetanus shots up-to-date.
I often wonder where my blood sisters are now
and if we paid a price for broken vows.
Or maybe it’s enough to stay connected by childhood memories, rites of passage
And a single drop of blood.