I probably couldn’t tell you why, I just knew that I liked you. It was something about how you could send me spinning like a cat being teased by a 15 year old girl with a laser pointer. I’d always thought I was smart. But here I was chasing my tail. I know I met you before but I don’t really remember “knowing” you until the 6th grade. I’d had a crush on at least one of your friends and didn’t realize where my heart belonged until just hours after Mrs. McCallister put me on the bus with the other so called “gifted children”. My first solid memory is of you selling strawberry jolly ranchers with Adam and Alice as part of a class project. I couldn’t decide what was cooler, the project or the fact that you guys had found strawberry jolly ranchers. I knew your name but your nickname was the best. And I’d known pretty girls but you were the cutest. Something about the way your smile wrinkled up slowly and slyly when you toyed with the mind of this naive, religious boy who thought he had the world figured out. The bursting laughter when I finally caught on and could turn it around sent my heart melt into overdrive. I always thought of you as older and wiser even though we were basically the same age. And I was sure I knew the most important things about life that you just didn’t know yet.
My memory of you is in and out. Nothing constant. Nothing consistent. Which is why I don’t understand how you left such an indelible mark on me. But boy did you ever leave your mark. You taught me Seinfeld, can never repay you for that alone lol.
I think you were the first peer of mine to make me believe my mind was special, even if it was in the process of telling me that I was foolishly wasting it. They say we often won’t remember what people say or do but will always remember the way a person makes us feel.
My enduring memory of you is that when you wanted to, you could always make me feel like the only person in the room. And you always made me feel like I was funny. Like, really funny. But most of all, you made me feel especially intelligent. Like, change the world intelligent. Even if you needed me to know I wasn’t as intelligent as you (but in the sweetest, most competitive way possible.) Is that how things were? It’s how I remember them. I also remember being a boy that crushed hard and crushed often. But no matter where my heart went, it’s favorite place was with you. I can tell you I know how things appear now: You are living your best life, saving and changing others lives and I couldn’t be happier or more proud. I hope you keep being the reason people wake up more days than they would have had they never met you. And I hope your brain, laugh and smile indelibly mark everyone you encounter the way they did me. Best wishes forever from a childhood friend.