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Chance Encounters

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I don’t remember what the most important things in my life were as a second grader. But guys, crushes, flirting, and romantic relationships definitely didn’t make the list. But that was the first year a boy flirted with me, other than when me and Austin fluttered our eyelashes each other as a joke in first grade.


I was in Thai Kwan Do that year, and I wasn’t that great at it. (Hey, I was in second grade. Give me a break.) Usually the same people attended the class each week. Me, my brother, this big high school kid, a little kindergartener who was very short, a kid about my age who was always touching my butt until I told my mom and she talked to the instructor, and a few other people. But sometimes there were random people, they would come to class on the day we were there once and then never again.


One of those people was a boy about my age, maybe a year older. We got paired up for a punching exercise. Nothing intense, just practicing form by punching the other person’s palms. Thinking back I realize that I actually thought the boy was cute. He had brown hair and was a little taller than me, he was skinny, I think his name was something like Jason...or maybe it started with an R. He made me smile in the short time I spent with him. But I never thought of guys in “that way” back in second grade. And at the time I didn’t know that the feeling I was feeling was the beginning of a crush. Feelings I didn’t know were flowing through me, but I hardly noticed. All I knew was that this boy had a catching smile and that I liked him.


The instructor, an amicable middle aged Korean man with a balding head, came over and asked how we were doing with the activity. The boy said “It’s repetitive.” I was smiling at that moment, I see now that the boy was showing off his sophisticated vocabulary- repetitive was a big word for a second grader, but I knew what it meant, and I agreed with a smile. Not just any smile either, but a smile where your whole face lights up and your cheeks turn red, I used to smile like that a lot. I remember his mom saying something then; telling him not to flirt with the girls too much.


I wonder sometimes if I will ever see that boy again, he was the first boy to ever flirt with me. I wonder if he’s someone I would like or if he’s rude, arrogant, and stupid. Perhaps he’s still a bit of a player, maybe he’s dropping out of high school, maybe he died in a tragic car crash, or got a girl pregnant. Maybe he’s someone I know now. What if he is? What if I already have run into him and talked to him unaware that we had already met? What if I meet him again someday? What if we work together? Or do something cheesy, like get married?


I believe it was that same year, I was crying on the grassy hill by the soccer fields. Someone had told everyone that I made up a rumor that I hadn’t made up. I was sitting up there crying, my best friend and a few others were with me. But the girl who had made me cry was off having fun and playing. I still think she’s a...well let’s just say, I don’t care for her too much. Then a girl I didn’t know who my friend Micaela had been hanging out with came up and knelt down in front of me, peeking in at me between my knees where I was hiding my head in shame. “What’s wrong?” I liked that she didn’t ask if I was ok, or if something was wrong like everyone else. It was obvious that something was wrong, I was sitting on a hill by a yellow fire hydrant, feeling the rocks and sticks digging into my butt and crying my eyes out.


I remember telling the girl, Caitlyn, everything that had happened and how I felt. I put everything out there. Then she hugged me, that’s how I remember it. She went to the same school as me for a bit, and was even in my class once. Micaela and her were best friends for a while. Now we’re friends on Facebook and she doesn’t know how much she helped me. The way she treated me taught me how to comfort people, and that sometimes it doesn’t matter that you don’t know them. You could save someone. I don’t talk to her much, and I have never thanked her for that. But now, writing this, I think I will.


We meet so many people in life and make meaningful connections, change their life or make impressions, provide them with a new experience, create a stereotype in their mind. Sometimes you might see them again soon after and recognize them. But often times you never cross paths again, or you don’t realize you have. Try to remember the face or name of every single person you have met and had any sort of interaction with in your life. You can’t can you? There’s too many. Sometimes people who make huge impacts on your life are strangers, and you can’t even remember their name. That’s my point, it’s a bit sad in the way that you may never see these people again, but just think. You have changed at least one person’s life for the better sometime in your existence. Maybe you don’t remember them, but I can assure you if you really changed them, they remember you. After all, you left footprints on their life.





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