New year, New classes and New friends.
First day of school, Max told me to introduce any new friends that I make, to him.
Tom transferred to our school this year. He was about my height and was a pretty smart kid. It looked like he was having difficulty making new friends, so I decided to be one for him. He was a funny guy. He was witty and apparently we enjoyed the same cartoons, music and TV shows. We talked a lot in school but we rarely hung out after school, as we lived in opposite directions.
One day after school, Max and I were checking out one of the street vendors that sold sweets in front of our school. This particular vendor had straws we could draw and depending on which color it was, we would win different size and kinds of candy. Max had this unbelievable luck at that game. Most of the time, Max won the biggest candy the vendor had but he never shared his prize with anybody. However, that day, he gave me what he won to me. Walking home together, Max asked me about my new friend and told me that he wanted to meet him.
Next day in school, introduced Tom to Max and three of us joked around the whole day. After school, we, Max, Jay, Carrot, Jim, Tom and I, walked out together. Max told me to run to the play ground and make sure that there was enough space for all of them to hang out. I ran down the stairs and down the road. Passing by, I realized that Mr.Peterson was selling chicks in front of the school. After a few minutes waiting on the swing, the gang arrived at the playground. Each of them had those chicks in their hands and Tom was missing. Max told me that Tom was busy today.
I was on the swing and the gang were playing with the chicks. They released them on the sand box and observed them walking and peeping around. Carrot was the first one to make a move. He took his chick out of the box and placed in on the ground. After taking a few steps back, he kicked the chick away. Jim dropped his to the ground from the monkey bars, Jay threw rocks at his and Max placed his underneath the seesaw. Max handed one to me. I was scared. I was so scared I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t move from where I was standing. I told him to do whatever he wanted. Max kept on insisting that I decided its fate. I couldn’t make a sound at that point, I just shook my head.
One by one, the peeping started to quiet down. After a few minutes later, the peeping stopped entirely and all that was left were bloodstains on the sand. I was so scared. Standing right next to the swings, I yelled at Max. I yelled at how brutal he was. I yelled at how cold he was. I yelled at how wrong he was. In the midst of yelling, Max ran up to me and punched me in my left cheek. I fell back on my ass and Max grinned down on me.
“You don’t talk to me that way. You, don’t yell at me, you coward piece of shit!”
I sat there watching the gang leave. My lips were torn and blood trickled down to the sand below.
My cheeks and lips still hurt from yesterday. Some of my classmates came up to ask what happened, but I brushed them off with excuses. Tom came to school right before the beginning of our first class. Even though my lips still stung, the sight of a friend made me smile. He walked up to me. And then punched me in the same place Max did. Once again, I found myself on my ass looking up at him, dumbfounded. Everyone in the classroom were looking at us.
“You’re not my friend anymore, you piece of shit!”
My lips tore, again.
After school, the gang came to my classroom, looking for me.
“Arthur, Let’s go home!”
I was hesitant but I walked with them. As I was walking out the school, I saw Tom walking home by himself.
I met him the first day I moved but we didn’t become friends then.
After a month, I still didn’t have any friends and I became desperate. He realized this and approached me. His name was Max. It didn’t take long for us to become close friends. After all, he lived two house down the street and we were in the same class.
He was quiet during class but during break, he would be the one who usually starts shenanigans and get into trouble. He would often tease girls and play rough with his other friends, but he never bullied anyone. Not every one liked him, but every one definitely knew of him.
Every day after school we would hang out at the play ground but whenever his brother got new games, we would stay at his house and watch Max’s brother play. Thanks to him, we were able to get our hands on new and sometimes age inappropriate games before most of the crowd did.
One day in school, Max realized that whenever I was involved in his mischief, he didn’t get into too much trouble. Of course, we still got into trouble but the punishments weren’t as harsh. Few days later, he introduced me to his group of friends.
I knew of them but that was the first time I was introduced as a friend, one of their own. Jay was a big, Carrot was lanky but strong and Jim always had a smile on his face. It didn’t take long to become good friends with all of them.
It was last day of school when I first met Max’s parents. For a whole year, staying close to him and hanging out at his house, I never met either of them before. Max looked a lot like his father but his mother looked very young, maybe a bit too young to be Max’s mother.