Tuesday, May 16, 2006remembering a friend...
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Stephen moved into the biggest and richest house in our neighborhood when I was about 6 years old. He was 2-3 years younger than me, but despite the age difference, we became friends. I suppose that's how it is for everyone at that age; friendships just sort of happens. We lived close to each other, we were both young kids, so we were friends.
I clearly remember how it all started. I was playing in the sandbox my father had constructed for me when the feeling of being watched came over me. I slowly stood up and looked to my left, and there was a short, brown haired boy, watching at me from his backyard, which was across a field that layed between our houses. Always willing to show off my great sandbox, I waved my hand to the boy, inviting him to come over. The boy turned around and ran into his house. At first, I was puzzled, but when I saw the boy come out of his house again, I understood that he had probably just got permission from his parents to come over.
"I'm Stephen and that's my house over there," the boy said.
"I'm Rand and this is my sandbox," I answered. "You want to play?"
Stephen never answered. He didn't have to. Just like that, with those few words, we were carving out dirt roads and building tunnels in the sand. And that's how it began. It didn't matter that Stephen was spoiled rotten, it didn't matter that he was, for the most part, a little terror, it didn't matter that he was a few years younger than me. We both enjoyed playing with our Hotwheels in my sandbox and that was good enough to keep us together.
We were eventually separated, my family and I moved away from our little neighborhood, and though I still got to see Stephen in school, well, it just wasn't the same. Again, I suppose this is a normal event in all of our lives; friendships almost always have a season in which they blossom, and then a season in which they just kind of drift away. I can't help but admit this fact when I look back on my life, but I have to say that while I acknowledge the fact, it does pinch a bit; perhaps I'm the nostalgic type.
I wonder if I would feel less nostalgia over this particular past friendship if I would still see Stephen from time to time; if I could just pick up the phone and say: "Hi Steph, how's it goin'!?!" Sadly, that's a question that will never be answered; Stephen died of leukemia just a couple of years after we moved away from our little neighborhood.