Posts tagged with "elementary school"

Tom and I

We used to have a code: I’d ask him “Hey Tom, you want to van­dal­ize the grave­yard tonight?”, this obscure line from an episode of Married…with Children.

If he respond­ed with, “No, Jeff, that would be wrong” (the next line from the episode), that meant he’d agree to throw rocks into a lit­tle stream under an over­pass dur­ing our grade 7 lunch break. When we were fin­ished eat­ing in the cafe­te­ria, we’d walk to the stream with the remains of the hour, dressed in bur­gundy tie and pine blaz­er, heav­ing any appro­pri­ate­ly sized rocks into the water. It was our goal to block the flow of the stream one day.

It was a fruit­less goal, of course, so much like every­thing we did back then, when noth­ing we did ever seemed to mat­ter. A goal we’d nev­er hope to accom­plish.

A way of say­ing, “I hope these days nev­er end. I hope I nev­er grow up, and I’m nev­er too old to throw rocks with a good friend.”

Sometimes we’d throw what was left of our lunch­es into the stream, and be reward­ed with the glimpse of a soli­tary fish break­ing the sur­face of the water and snatch­ing a morsel.

By the time we returned to class, the sheen on my brogues would be replaced by a fine lay­er of dust from walk­ing around in the grav­el. I’d wear that dust proud­ly, because no one ever knew how it got there, a secret code between him and me.

Sometimes I check up on Tommy. Not that he knows. I won­der if we could be friends again. We lead two dif­fer­ent lives, but that’s nev­er stopped me from being friends with some­one. Part of me is scared that he’s nev­er changed, nev­er grown out from the ele­men­tary school Tom I used to know — some­thing all too com­mon in my expe­ri­ence — and I’d just rather not know. It’s enough for me not to con­tact him.

But I still root for him, not because we used to be such good friends, but because I know that if he can make it, so can I.

Elementary School

Thumbnail: School crossing sign

Thumbnail: Four-square tiles

Thumbnail: Rusty tetherball pole

Thumbnail: School portable

This was my ele­men­tary school. The Catholic insti­tu­tion I attend­ed dur­ing the first few years of mov­ing here. Where I used to offer best-friend sta­tus for a mouth­ful of Big League Chew. Old, famil­iar four-square courts are still paint­ed on, unmoved. The T‑ball poles are rust­ed out and miss­ing their teth­ers. Countless feet jump­ing, run­ning, skip­ping dur­ing recess have caused the pave­ment to warp and crack. Even the old porta­bles are any­thing but, their famil­iar beige tones still inhab­it­ing the back of the school, built out of con­crete and plas­tic foam when the town was bud­ding, and the class­rooms could­n’t han­dle all the stu­dents. Walking up the wood­en stairs, I bet they even have the same groan­ing creaks.

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