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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