2nd grade — 16 yrs, summer
it reminds me back to the summer of the 2nd grade, where I used to be someone who doesn’t ask —neither being asked— much from life. a year when I used to live in a glimpse of my ordinary yet memorable daily life: going to high school and living by myself in the city, while enjoying walking down the street as the sun set by the days and striving for the best of my life.
and that’s by the time when I met this person: a simple, yet rather brilliant girl, and happened to be a classmate of mine. and as I was a rather-ignorant and less-confident person, —oddly enough— I found that this person was rather different than just any other girl in the class. and as ‘odd’ as it could get, with all the different traits-whatsoever between me and this person, we found each other sharing many common stuffs and interests.
“you know,” she said. “I’m not really good with mathematics either.” she said that as we were talking about such stuff after an exam.
“not such words from you,” I grasped. “either way, someone like you won’t say that for such numerical stuffs.”
“hmm. my score is not that lot of better than yours.” she replied calmly. “anyway, I’m taking remedial task for this exam. a pair-group task. got a pair already?”
“well then. we’ll be taking it.”
and it just happened that we took the remedial task. yet even then, even from what I saw, I could not comprehend that such a girl could say “no good with mathematics” and stuffs. and as I had never happen to be interested enough in mathematics, I could not guess worse that we would have such common sense towards mathematics.
putting it aside, I somehow found that in spite of our differences, we share more common stuffs and interests. that we were both interested in computer stuffs, while she was interested in web-design as I was interested in digital imaging. or such things that we happened to live in similar circumstances of our families. or the fact that both of us likes to talk to each other about many stuffs: friends, club activities, or anything we could talk about. or even some not-so-important stuffs, like how she said she likes CorelDraw better than Photoshop and I thought otherwise, as it would later develop into a sometimes-long chat.
“I’m leaving overseas,” as she started another conversation. “and now I’m busy with embassy stuffs and such.” she said. “a bit tiring, though.”
I asked when she would be leaving.
“still by the end of the term. but stuffs have been hectic lately.”
“isn’t it good? leaving overseas by yourself. it sure is fun.” I learned already that she would be participating in a student exchange.
“hey. how does it feel to live by yourself?”
“I mean, you are used to living by yourself here, and not coming home often…”
I knew that she was talking about being alone-and-far-away, and how tough it might have been. it was not something really hard to derive from the way a girl is talking. I took a deep breath.
“not really comparable, though. I started to live here as I was 14, and yet I do come home regularly.” it was a common reply. “but it was a bit tough at first. how I handle stuffs, this and that. but I found it fun after a while.” I shook my head. “and it has been fun, so far.” I smiled.
a short reply, but it was not so hard to derive what such word would mean, along with such expression. and that’s when I started to think: she is a girl, after all.
and that was all for the conversation as the class was starting.
and along with the ticks in the clocks, time passed. and it reminds me that how I used to sketch a drawing rather than listening to the teacher in biology classes (as she would say: “stop drawing, and listen at least.” and I replied “I’ll copy your notes later”), or how I asked her how to do differentiation towards ‘strange-shaped’ (or at least what I thought so) polynomials during the mathematics class.
as for the day finally approaching that she was about to leave. she did not talk to me much about it, though. and as I was thinking of ‘what I am to her’: just a casual friend who she talks to about stuffs, I didn’t ask. and things just going that way.
she did talk about it to some other of her friends, while then they did a bit of farewell party. as for me, I tried not to really care about it, as she didn’t talk about it much to me. and as I was thinking, life was just what happened. the term was about to end, as well as her departure was approaching.
I didn’t really understand what happened though — she didn’t talk to me as much as before as she was going to leave. and I tried not to really care about it. perhaps that’s just the way it had to happen. she didn’t talk to me much about her departure, and I just didn’t ask her about such stuff. still, there was a bit of unusual choke inside me, yet I tried to suppress it as well as I could.
and as finally the day of departure came, a friend of mine in another class asked me to come and see her off.
“we are going to see the exchange students off at the airport. are you going?”
“you know, she is going to depart tomorrow. and as I know, you were rather close to her. shouldn’t you see her off?”
I tried to smile.
“…no. thank you.”
and that’s how it was. she had left, and I didn’t come to see her off. and still, that day, I wondered. what had I been to her? was it just another person? was it just a casual friend? was it even someone unreliable to her? or was it just nothing that I shouldn’t expect too much?
things had never been the same again ever since. I graduated from high school a year later, and there were not many chances for me to see her as she was still taking her 3rd grade as I had graduated.
but even now, I’m still wondering. what has that one year in the 2nd grade been to me? what has it left for me? perhaps it’s only my past, and such things should be left just like a past. yet even then, I’m not really sure about it.
maybe someday, when I see a glaring summer sky, I will remember once again. about that one year in the 2nd grade of high school in my life — and a memory that feels so distant as I think about it now.