What would you say to someone that you literally have not seen or spoken to in nine years until today?
Think of the person that you are closest with and imagine their household giving you two weeks notice that they’re moving to another state. Nine years ago I was heading into the fifth grade. I had met G while I was in kindergarten and he in first grade. G‘s family lived in my neighborhood at the time. Exactly how we met is fuzzy, but there was something about him that drew me to him. He was witty, wise beyond his years, and frequently misunderstood. He was my type of person, I can’t word it any other way. His parents weren’t the best parents in the world but they provided their kids the essentials such as shelter, food, clothing and education. My mother said that his parents, “seemed to raise their children like untended plants”. Anyway, once our friendship grew, G would spend much of his time with me and my family. Nearly every waking minute that I was home and not with T, I was presumably with G. The funny thing is that we were in first (he repeated first grade), second, and fourth grade together, all by random chance.
The year we were in third grade I was on a low dose of medication that can be used to treat rheumatic diseases and it made me terribly sick. So sick that I would vomit, mostly sleep for three days, give me a gray complexion, and make my hair thin. While most young children would shy away from that type of situation, G would be there with me throughout that course of treatment. I made him leave my house a few times because I didn’t want to go through it with him at my side. My mother made sure that he had every opportunity to leave, back out, walk out the door and not come back (for good if he wanted) until my course of treatment was done. I expected him to leave because I knew some adults can’t even handle someone else’s health issues. But he always would come back each Friday when it was that specific medication night. The look in his eyes when he looked at me those evenings still make me shudder, his eyes seemed to portray a fear for me.G knew enough about my rheumatic diseases that my medication side effects may make me sick in order to get my diseases under control. I don’t know what made him stay my friend through that time but I’ll be forever grateful.
G was the first person I loved that wasn’t related to me by blood. It was a different type of love. I loved him more than a friend but it was different than a sisterly-brotherly love. I never saw him as a crush or somebody that would give me cooties. Maybe that’s what you call a pure love. Until he moved away, I had no idea that love for unrelated people was possible. Laying in bed the summer night that G had moved I recall thinking, “But I loved him.” As if that was enough of a reason for him to have stayed. My heart ached for weeks. It felt like an empty, deep, cold hole formed in my chest and there was nothing that would lesson the pain. I cried most of that summer after he and his family had left. I had this gut feeling that it would be a long time until I would see G again, if I saw him at all. Remember, these were the days before email was mainstream, Facebook, and Skype. Otherwise known as the Dark Ages of technology in the early 2000’s.
The first day of fifth grade rolled around that August and my teacher was taking attendance by calling out students’ names in alphabetical order by last name. My teacher calls my name, I raise my hand and smile. She calls the next name on the alphabetical list. It is G‘s name. It takes everything I have not to burst into tears (by then I had tapered my crying to once or twice a week since June of that year). He was going to be in my fifth grade class, too. No one raises their hand to accept G‘s presence and my teacher makes a check and proceeds to the next name on the list. It was tremendously difficult that year to know that he would have been in yet another elementary school class of mine. I didn’t reveal that G was going to be in my class to my mother until about three years ago.
For nine years we lost track of G and his family…until one day this spring G phoned my house. For some reason when the phone rang I knew it was him. I had no reason to think that he was going to call. But his name popped into my head with that first jingle. My mother picked up the phone and looked at caller I.D, shook her head and answered with a cautious, “Hello?”
I was curious to see if it was actually G on the other end. I couldn’t get my hopes up. What are the chances that he’d remember our phone number after nine years? Apparently the chances are pretty high since it was indeed G on the other end of the phone line. I mouthed to my mother, “Who is it?”
She wrote his name down on a piece of paper and slid it across the coffee table to me. This sounds like a cliche, but I couldn’t believe it was him. How in the world was it him? And how did I guess it was G before anyone looked at the caller I.D?
Their phone call lasted about ten minutes. I didn’t get the chance to talk to him when he called. Regardless, his call meant so much. G called to inform us that he’s living in my state again and he wants to reconnect with my household.
In about three weeks my mother and I will be meeting G at our local county lake with a lovely park. Right now I feel so many emotions. I’m anxious, excited, and every other feeling that I cannot put into words. I’m anticipating a long hug when I see him. We’re different people now. Actually, we’re not children, but adults now. But what do you say to someone that you haven’t seen in nine years? We have nine years to catch up on. Perhaps the question is: What don’t you say?
Sometimes I wonder if ever loved G but then I remember how it felt when he and his family moved, and how it still feels to know he’s still not here. He’s my person and he will always will be my person.
GIF Credit: Google Images