Southeast elementary. South middle school. High school.
There’s four elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school.
A northeast, northwest, southeast, southwest, a north and a south, and one city.
I met him in Grade 1.
I remember all the controversy about how to say his last name and all of the girls having those Elementary School Crushes on him. I barely talked to him in Grade 1, I only remember two encounters we had that year:
On the side of the classroom, atop a counter stood a red plastic basket full of books. I was much too short to reach it, but tried anyways. The basket tilted, and the books began their journey to the floor, sliding out, threatening to hit my face. He came over to help me, and propped the basket back upright. I thanked him, and that was all.
One morning, the school bus didn’t come. My mom waited with me, his grandma waited with him. My mom tells me that his grandma talked to her as we waited, “He went to get a haircut, and the lady doing his hair cut it a little too short. He’s not very impressed.” We ended up driving him to school that morning. I remember trying to create conversation to cut the nervous atmosphere of two elementary acquaintances sitting in the same car. We walked to the Grade 1 doors, talking, the atmosphere less awkward now. Once reaching the doors, we dropped our backpacks in the line-up and he told me, “Sorry, I have to go find my friends.” and then ran off to find them, as I walked towards mine.
I don’t remember the next time we spoke.
Grade 2, 3, and 4 went by. We unknowingly coexisted, nearly speaking but never quite. I saw him in the hallways, as he saw me, and his classroom was always just a few doors down, if not right beside mine.
Elementary school came and went, and middle school began.
Grade 5 and 6 our classrooms were close, next door even. At breaks we saw each other in the hallways, but I can’t ever remember speaking with him. Grade 7 he was in the partner class to mine. We passed each other, switching in and out of each classroom as the day progressed.
We continued to coexist and maintain knowledge of the other’s existence without ever directly interacting. Almost speaking, but fate preventing our lives from overlapping too directly.
Grade 8 we were in the same class. I didn’t really notice him at first, it’d been a while – just as I’m sure he didn’t notice me. I was more excited about my friends being in my class anyways, as I am sure he was. Our class consisted of small groups, but it also had the feeling that we were really just one big family, some being distant relatives of others, while the small groups consisted of immediate relatives.
As the year progressed, and him and I acknowledged each other’s existence more frequently, we began to talk. I can’t remember when or how, but his friends and my friends molded into one friend group. After ups and downs, and times when questioning the so-called friendship that existed had passed, by the end of the year, we all considered ourselves close friends.
It was a good year, Grade 8. Within our group, we had made friendships that we knew would continue into High School, and these friendships were with people that we knew we could count on. My friend and this guy even had the most infamous relationship known to the eighth grade.
And as I realized that I had grown up with and known him since Grade 1, it was strange to think that the last time we had talked and known each other was the first year of elementary school, and the next time we truly began to get to know each other was the last year of middle school.
The next year, our group remained just as tight as we had been. He was on my bus. Despite having none to one class with the odd person in our group, we were always together at lunch, keeping up to date on each other’s lives and the school’s. As the year progressed, we realized that as our friends applied for other schools, that our group wouldn’t remain the same forever.
The said infamous relationship and the friendships within our group strengthened and were cherished as the realization set in that next year, the only people left would be me, him, and his best friend. What we clung to, I think, was the ignorance. I think we pretended that everything would go on as it was forever. For a while the thought of our best friends leaving was a distant possibility in the future. But as the end of the year neared, it became a haunting reality.
At the end of the year, some of us hugged and said goodbye through tears, while others said an indifferent goodbye, trying to ignore the fact that we wouldn’t be the same friends as we once were throughout the rest of high school. We said goodbye as though we would see each other again next year, everything unchanged.
But now it’s just me, him, and his best friend.
All on the same bus, all still friends.
Now the group that once sat in a large oval in the hallway at lunchtime, can sit in a booth in the cafeteria with lots of space to spare. And no matter how annoyed we might become with each other, we’ll always have each other.
Over the summer, my mom told me about these weird coincidences.
When she was a child, she went to the same church as his mom. Apparently his mom and my mom were friends. His grandpa was the pastor. His grandpa had almost married my parents. How some of the decorations in our house came from his grandma’s garage sale.
It’s strange to think that even before the individual paths of our lives overlapped, our lives had been destined to overlap.
And maybe he thinks that I am annoying. Maybe he thinks I am a terrible friend. Maybe he thinks I have no life. Maybe he does. Maybe he really doesn’t want hang out with me at lunch, as he has other friends.
But he still shows me his favourite movie, and introduces me to his church friends. He still accepts me as I am and offers to be my wingman. And I know I can trust him, just as I hope he knows that he can trust me. And he is still my friend just as I am his. And I’m glad.
As time passes, lives overlap and paths cross, and the coincidences and true intentions of life reveal themselves. Fate has terribly intricate yet meaningful tendencies.
It’s strange to think that I have known him since Grade 1, and he has known me. It’s strange to think that we’ve watched each other grow up, whether realizing it or not. And it’s strange to think about the way our friendship came about. But everything that happened, one could argue, happened for a reason. And the reason for our friendship was all a result of a multitude of events that had occurred, just as they intended to.
Fate and destiny have a way of intertwining themselves in one’s life. Once you realize that they have in fact impacted your life, coincidences you hadn’t realized existed begin to pop up, and over time you realize that fate and destiny have an incredible capability to allow the cliche “Everything happens for a reason” to be proven true.
In Grade 1, he was my character role model.
He knows it too.
We joke about it and laugh, just as we do about countless other things.
It’s Grade 10 and we are friends now. Good friends I like to think.
I met him in Grade 1.
Photo Credit: http://isaacmartinez.tumblr.com/post/6871793808/i-believe-that-everything-happens-for-a-reason
12 thoughts on “Grade 1”
Here I am once again trying to put into words how much I adore your writing, and once again I am struggling to do just that. All of your pieces have a distinct voice that is tinted with a certain degree of innocence–I love it. I am in a trance when reading your writing, as though I am witnessing the events first hand. I cannot thank you enough for such an amazing experience.
The structure of your piece was absolutely breathtaking. It was all in order and it made sense, and at the same time it was unique. The parallelism was a nice touch. I would offer that occasionally you have run-on sentences, and so I would keep an eye open for such errors while you’re editing your work. For example, “Once you realize that they have in fact impacted your life, coincidences you hadn’t realized existed begin to pop up, and over time you realize that fate and destiny have an incredible capability to allow the cliche “Everything happens for a reason” to be proven true.” I would simply add a period, like so, “Once you realize that they have in fact impacted your life, coincidences you hadn’t realized existed begin to pop up. Over time you realize that fate and destiny have an incredible capability to allow the cliche “Everything happens for a reason” to be proven true.”
Lastly, I loved your use of simple sentences. This was my FAVORITE part of your blog, “And maybe he thinks that I am annoying. Maybe he thinks I am a terrible friend. Maybe he thinks I have no life. Maybe he does. Maybe he really doesn’t want hang out with me at lunch, as he has other friends.” The simplicity, innocence, honesty, and uncertainty embedded within these lines took my breath away. I can’t explain it. It was beautiful.
Thank you so much for reading and commenting! It means so much to me!
All of your kind words are so reassuring, I really do appreciate you taking the time to comment onmy writing, and I can not thank you enough for providing me the reassurance I needed for posting this piece.
Thank you so much for your kind words and reassurance.
I would first of all like to applaud you for being able to open up about something so personal on your blog. It takes a lot of courage to talk about something like this, even if you don’t reveal any names. I haven’t read all of your blog posts but each time I read one of them I’m always amazed by your unique tone and writing style.
I loved how you managed to open and end your piece with the same sentence, and although it was short and simple it gives your piece a well rounded feeling (kind of like that “circle” literary device we discussed in class). You also didn’t just use simple sentences at the beginning and end of the piece, they were everywhere throughout the piece and I thought they helped emphasize the innocent tone to your writing.
Thank you so much. For reading, for commenting, and for all of your kind words.
I was a bit hesitant about posting this! I actually was talking to this person whom I wrote it about, and I asked him “I got this blog post to do today, it’s free choice, what should I write?” and he was like “Write about me.” – so I did haha.
Thank you for the reassurance and your kind words.
Your writing has always had an exquisite voice to be found. I am mystified and lost in this voice, as it always feels so real and grounded. I will always enjoy every piece of yours that you write henceforth because of this voice! Awesome job.
The first thing that stood out to me when reading this piece was the voice (again). I could feel the specific personality behind the piece, an it was as if I was hearing a story directly from your thoughts – whether or not this is fiction or non-fiction, I could hear you! This is especially shown towards the end of the piece, in one of the last paragraphs; you use repetition beautifully, Taylor.
Another aspect of this blog post I thoroughly enjoyed was the simplicity. To see just a straightforward story makes the reader interpret it as their own, which was extremely refreshing for me. I felt as if the meaning behind this piece was shown between the lines, as it was not forthcoming in what the reader was supposed to feel, which I enjoyed a lot.
One tip for next time that I would offer is to be mindful of run-ons (unless those were purposeful, of course) and small grammar tweaks. It would just flow a little bit better, I think.
Once again, your writing is amazing, and I aspire to have the same skill of putting meaning between the lines. Thank you so much!!
Thank you so much for your kind words. I always read your blog posts and for it to come from such an amazing writer such as yourself, it really does mean a lot to me.
I really do appreciate you taking the time to not only read but comment on my blog, it really does mean a lot to me!
Thank you for the kind words and feedback.
I am constantly in awe of your writing. Such talent in grade 10 – talent that is visibly growing with each piece of yours I read – is so incredibly admirable. Your strength and voice is developing incredibly.
I love the purity of this piece. How simple it appears on the surface is outweighed by the beauty of your words and the care you put into every single word and every single sentence. There was such a sense of innocence in this piece that brought me such immense joy and happiness. Thank you for such a lovely, warm piece in times where the world has been defined as otherwise.
I cannot think of anything to improve this piece, truly. Thank you so very much for this beautiful piece of art.
Aw thank you so much Claire! Your words honestly mean so much to me.
I really do appreciate the time it took you to read and respond to my blog post. It means so much to me!
Thank you for your kind words and time.
I absolutely love your piece!
There was such a sentimental feeling to it, and I was hooked immediately.
There were so many great moments throughout the entire free choice, but I will limit myself down to listing only 3.
“We unknowingly coexisted, nearly speaking but never quite.”
I felt like this line had so much meaning behind it. It was beautiful in it’s own simplistic way. Both parts of the sentence contrast themselves. The first half saying that you both existed with each other (correct me if I am wrong!) unaware of each other’s presences, but at the same time somehow knowing of each others’ existence with moments of speaking to each other but “not quite”. I wasn’t able to interpret it thoroughly, so if you could elaborate on that for me that would be lovely. 🙂
I believe that this line also speaks toward the theme. Even at times such as these, fate is at work. It is somewhat fascinating to think that someone you meet once can play an extremely significant role in your life in the future. It also guides me to the thoughts that we should be wary of how we treat people now, for in the future we do not know what role they will play in our lives, big or small.
“But he still shows me his favourite movie, and introduces me to his church friends. He still accepts me as I am and offers to be my wingman. And I know I can trust him, just as I hope he knows that he can trust me. And he is still my friend just as I am his. And I’m glad.”
This was just lovely.
“I met him in Grade 1.”
This line was at the beginning and at the end of the peace and it was just so cute! Immediately when I read the sentence at the end of the piece, my mind automatically remembered that I had read the line once before―at the beginning. Such a short sentence holds such significant meaning. It summarizes the entire piece. It embodies your theme.
I also felt it served as a form of irony; how you met him many years prior but only just began a real friendship many years afterward.
The tone of your piece is so casual. I do not mean casual as in unconcerned or unplanned, I mean causal as in easy-going and comfortable. This tone relaxed me and made my connection with it easier. I naturally relate more to a piece with a friendly, simplistic tone of voice.
I also really liked the way you would alternate between simple wording and then when referring to something of great significance (such as your theme of fate), you used a broader range of vocabulary.
I was too interested in the piece to actually notice errors. I am aware that it is my job to go back and re-read it to find errors, but honestly my only corrections for you are your run-on sentences, which Sania has already mentioned 🙂
I personally gained my own lessons through this blog post. I should appreciate and treasure the friendships I have now, because I do not know how long I will have them for, and the obvious one: “Everything happens for a reason.”
Thank you for this amazing read Taylor!
Have a great weekend! 😀
Thank you so much for reading and commenting on my writing, your words really do touch my heart.
As for the line “We unknowingly coexisted, nearly speaking but never quite.” I meant for it to interpret the years that we were both attending the same school, going to classes that were, essentially, right beside each other, and knowing that each other existed because we had seen and talked to each other before, but never talking. We both had made our own friends and were in our own “little worlds” in seperate classrooms; we coexisted, we did not interact because the ways of the universe were at work during this time. So even though we knew each other and were almost interacting but never quite, this is when the second part of the sentence comes into play. I hope that clears it up for you (:
Thank you so much again, for your kind words and positivity.
This was astonishingly refreshing.
A lot of writers like to toss in complex adjectives and nouns to elevate their piece and heighten the beauty of their language, but your writing isn’t like that.
And I loved it. The risk with using complex diction in writing is in losing the audience’s understanding, and therefore attention. However, your piece is a perfect showcase of how simple sentence structures and language can draw the reader into the memory that you are describing. It was just so easy to be absorbed. For putting me in that mood, I thank you; in fact, I wanted to look through all of my memory books/yearbooks from elementary and middle school after reading this.
The simple and short sentences in your writing seemed to build up to something, to a dramatic moment that I was eagerly waiting for. Yet that didn’t happen. That was when the nostalgia truly crashed into me like waves on shore. It simply hit home- it was childhood. I stopped reading your piece when that happened; it was a pathetic attempt to prolong the magical and emotional moment that had just seamlessly occurred.
Seamless – that is what your writing feels like. The way is washes over the reader in a lulling manner is, as I have stated before, astonishingly refreshing. It was a piece of writing that provided me a slice of life; a means of reflecting how it felt like to grow up; how it felt like for people to enter your life and leave, as though they were passing by; as though the reader was passing by. The anaphora was also beautifully employed, as it created a rhythm of hesitance; the repetition of “maybe” was a showcase of a stutter in growing up. However, it was immediately followed with “But” as a means of shifting the tone, trailed by the repetition of “and”. It was thus subsequently implied that in spite of the melancholy that appears when growing up, there will always be a nostalgic constant in life.
I have little to offer in terms of improvement – I’m scared of potentially taking away the magic that seems to circle around this piece.
I do, however, sincerely hope that you continue writing like this, if not better, because I know I will always come back and reread this when I need a breather from the the rushing blur of life.
Aw Queeny, your words mean so much to me! I am so happy and touched that my blog post was able to touch you this way. Nostaliga is also one of my favourite words, so thank you for using it – it made me smile!
I can’t express how grateful I am for your beautiful comment. As aforementioned I was a bit hesitant in posting this, but after your comment, I am glad I did. Coming from such a brilliant writer such as yourself, your words made me feel honoured to have allowed my blog post to be seen by you.
Thank you for your kind words and for sharing your thoughts.