Henryk came out into the garden, half-expecting Leonas to be sitting on the grass either reading or writing. Over their years of associating with one another, he’d come to see the other boy as a quiet, bookish homebody. He didn’t expect to find the boy… being boyish and playing around with a little cloth ball filled with grain.

Henryk recognized the game as one that he’d played with the boys from the villages when he had free time. He had no idea that Leonas was just as familiar with it. As the ball sailed out of Leonas’s circle, Henryk caught it with his foot and sent it flying back.

“Thanks,” Leonas called to him. With a sudden impish grin, he kicked the ball back toward Henryk. Soon they were kicking the ball back and forth between each other. Henryk found that Leonas was a rather competitive player and had a knack for landing the ball in his area with just the right angle that he’d catch it but not be able to control its movements.

“I give, you win,” he said when they were both breathless and beginning to giggle softly. Henryk kicked the ball one last time and Leonas caught it with his hand, signaling the game’s end. “I didn’t know you could play that game so well. Why don’t you ever come down to the village to play?”

Leonas sighed and settled back against a tree. “How would it look for a university professor to play a child’s game, Henryk?”

“Like he knows how to have fun and act his age, kocha,” Henryk said. “It’s settled. Next time I have free time to go to the village, you are coming with me.”

“Alright,” Leonas agreed, with only a token show of reluctance.

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