I recall you wearing purple and yellow braided barrettes when we had a fight and you stopped speaking to me. We had gone to a fun fair at our school the night before, and you had become friends with the new girl on our street. We didn’t talk for three months, but it felt like years.
I was never the same after we reconciled.
I was always fearful of losing you again. As a result, I kept you at arm’s length.
When I was in the sixth grade, our neighborhood friends and I were playing a game at the bus stop, and I was running so quickly that I couldn’t get my feet to stop moving. I ended up running into the front porch wall of the girl who had stolen you away the previous year. My head was bleeding, and each one of our neighbors was concerned about whether or not I was okay. I felt the need to demonstrate some bravery, so I pretended that everything was fine. Despite everything, I got on the bus and went to school.
You sat next to me on the bus and held my hand the entire ride. You offered to accompany me to the nurse if I needed it. I said I did. I ultimately returned home. Later that day, I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with a concussion.
You were perhaps my first love. I believe that our earliest best friends are. Perhaps we are reluctant to confess this because we are unable to express these things aloud.
Why couldn’t our guidance counselors teach us how to have healthy connections with other human beings instead of focusing on earning good grades or getting into an Ivy League college?
I learned that all of our old schools are being demolished. I watched video tours of their interiors sent to me by a friend. It was like learning of your death for the first time all over again.