I Want to Go Back
I remember the exact day I fell in love with Double Dutch. I was about seven years old, and me, Nita, and some of the girls we used to hang out with had just come back from this multicultural summer festival being held at the city park on the other side of town. It was kind of lame, but we went because everyone else did, and it was something to do for the first three days of summer.
This particular day, there was a Double Dutch competition. Teams of girls battled all afternoon and into the early evening, until it was finally down to just the two best groups. After the hottest tricks, turns, and jumps I’d ever seen in my life, one team was declared the winner, and each girl was given a small trophy to take home.
Me, Nita, and some of our other friends from the neighborhood decided that we wanted to jump like the teams we’d watched compete that day. We started that same night and kept it up for pretty much the whole summer, trying our best to copy what we’d seen those girls do at the festival. We weren’t very good at first, but after a few weeks of practicing, we kind of got the hang of it.
By the end of the summer, I had gotten really good at it, and within a few months I was competing with some of the other girls in my neighborhood for the title of Double-Dutch Block Champion. It wasn’t easy, because most of the girls were older and had been jumping longer. Even still, I somehow managed to win. There was no trophy because it was just a block competition, but the owner of the bodega down the street from the playground where we jumped donated a brand new set of double-dutch ropes to us, and I did get to keep those. I opened them up right away for my victory jump, which I had to do while singing the official Double-Dutch Block Champion Victory Song one of the older girls had made up.
I don’t remember many of the words anymore, but the chorus was easy:
K my name is Kendra
K my name is Kendra
starts with a K
I jumped and I sang and I jumped and I sang, and it was the happiest day of my life ever.
I want to go back to that day.
I want to go back to when my life was about jumping double-dutch in the middle of the parking lot, buying bomb pops from the ice cream truck with the wack music, plotting against the older kids because they ran us younger kids out of the big playground at the end of our street, and racing to be home by the time Mama stopped calling our names from the porch or else.
I want to go back.
I’m afraid to close my eyes when I go to bed now.
About the Book
Title: K My Name is Kendra
Author: Kamichi Jackson
Genre: Young Adult
Fifteen-year-old Kendra James’ life begins to spiral out of control with the return of her long-lost runaway sister Meisha, and the visit of a young celebrity uncle with questionable intentions. Things take a particular turn for the worse when that uncle exploits Kendra’s loneliness and untreated depression and makes a move on her that sends her world into a tailspin from which she’s not sure she’ll ever recover. Will she survive this tragedy…or will she hit rock-bottom before anyone even notices?
In addition to K My Name Is Kendra, Kamichi Jackson is the author of an eBook entitled Where Present Meets Past (originally available as part of the now-defunct Amazon Shorts Program), the middle reader book You’re Too Much, Reggie Brown, a forthcoming adult novel entitled The Brownstone, two unproduced screenplays, and several short stories. KJ has made numerous appearances in support of her work, among them the Baltimore Book Festival. When not writing, Kamichi is likely off somewhere singing karaoke. The South Norwalk, Connecticut native currently resides in Northern Virginia with family.
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