What does Squeaky mean in the phrase, "like being people," at the end of "Raymond's Run" by Toni Cade Bambara?

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kathik eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Early in the story "Raymond's Run" by Toni Cade Bambara, the protagonist, Squeaky, talks about how fake girls often are, not only girls her age but even older girls.

"Gretchen smiles, but it's not a smile, and I'm thinking that girls never really smile at each other because they don't know how and don't want to know how and there's probably no one to teach us how, 'cause grown-up girls don't know either." (Bambara 5)

Squeaky goes on to say how much she dislikes pretense. She does not want to dress up and dance around the May Pole because that is not who she is. She is a runner, and she does not have time for pretending to be what she is not. So at the end of the story when she and Gretchen finish the race, she realizes how good Gretchen is, and she smiles at her. Gretchen returns the smile, and maybe for the first time, they have this real smile between them. They are both being authentic-real people who respect one another.