This post is for National Blog Posting Month, which was brought to my attention by the lovely and hilarious Essaytch. They have something different every month and for April, the objective is to write a letter a day for a month. I’m obviously not writing a letter a day but I’m participating anyway.
What’s up George,
I’m sure you remember me, but I’ll introduce myself anyway. I’m Michael Kim, from way back in the day. We were best friends from junior high to high school. It’s been a while, man. I haven’t talked to you in like 5 years…I’ve been thinking it’d be a good idea to catch up a little.
Some of what I’m about to tell you, you’ve already heard, but I don’t think I’ve gone into this much detail about it.
I think you’ll remember me telling you that I moved to Texas right in the middle of 4th grade, during the Christmas break. The family just up and left when my dad got a head pastoral position out in San Antonio. I had a circle of really close friends that I left behind…every one of them felt like a “best friend” in my 9-year-old eyes.
I never really got the hang of fitting in after I moved. I mean, I was all right and had people to hang out with and stuff, but nothing like the group of friends I had back in California. So when I moved up to junior high (where “social life,” cliques, and all that stuff officially begin), I wasn’t particularly close to anyone.
You were one of the most popular guys in 6th grade. Everyone was friends with you. If they weren’t, they wanted to be. You were also hysterically funny. I mean side-splittingly, can’t breath, silent-laugh funny. Man…I remember all the jokes and remarks you’d make in class. I got in trouble more than a handful of times ‘cos I couldn’t stop laughing at something you said.
But yeah, I thought it was really weird that you struck up a conversation with me that first week of school. I recall it was because you noticed my last name. Our first conversation went something like this:
“So, your name is Michael Kim…are you Korean?”
“Cool. My mom’s Korean. So I’m half…I’m a halfie.”
From that point on, we were pretty much inseparable. We would have totally non-girly hour-long phone conversations on which of the sports we’d try out for when we moved up to 7th and 8th grade (we ended up playing, and kicking ass, in all of them), how oppressive our older siblings were, and how we would get each other hooked up with our own respective crushes. For some reason, your plans with girls always worked out. Mine were always a work in progress.
You would crack me up with your jokes and I rode your coattails into the “popular” echelon of school society. I would spark the nerd in you and you strangely wanted to excel in school with me. That was completely okay with me because you made studying cool. I swear we were the coolest kids in the small group of over-achievers that would show up to Mrs. Ramsey’s early-morning pre-test study sessions.
I remember when I had a crush on Genevieve B. back in jr. high and you told me it would be an awesome sign of my love if I wrote “Michael Loves Genevieve” with a bold white-out pen in the concrete ditch by the park. I did and, a couple weeks later, I got stopped several times by kids at school asking, “Dude, did you write that on the ditch?” to which I, after turning red each time, replied, “Ditch? What ditch?”
I also remember when we used to re-enact The Matrix and Star Wars (Episode I…with Darth Sid or somethin’ like that) move-by-choreographed-move in your backyard.
Or when we both discovered what alcohol tasted like after secretly drinking a hot, half-filled can of beer that was left in your dad’s pickup. I would stay away from beer for a long time after that. You got over that horrible first encounter much quicker than I would though.
Or that one day when you were at my house, and after a stupid half-joking fight/argument, I told you to get out of “my” house. I didn’t really mean it, but you got out anyway. Your mom told me you were actually pretty bummed and depressed the whole rest of the weekend. My bad bro…shouldn’t have done that to you.
I remember all those heated neighborhood football games we’d play on your street. God, those days were fun…when life was all about getting past that stop sign for the touchdown…
After junior high, we slowly started drifting apart. High school was a big shift. It didn’t help that I had to take some classes on the “Junior/Senior” campus our whole freshman year. I couldn’t eat lunch with any of you guys, who were all back on the “Frosh/Soph” campus for lunch. I knew no one on that upper-classmen campus and my lunches were fairly solitary. But although I didn’t see you, or most of our circle of friends as much during the school day, you also ran cross-country with me that season, even though swimming was your thing. So we still hung out a lot. But there was a gap that was already growing.
For lots of different reasons we drifted apart over the next few years. Some of those reasons were as simple as my class schedule not working, and me not spending as much time with the rest of you guys those early years in high school. But there were other more subtle ones. I think you just grew up faster than me, like most everyone else did. (I don’t know if I would really call it “growing up” though.) I was fine getting together for weekend football games and just chilling at people’s houses. You, along with seemingly every other normal adolescent guy, wanted to drink, party, drive around, and chase girls. Mostly chase girls. I didn’t see what the point, or fun, was in chasing girls. I thought just hanging out with them without making a fool out of myself was a handful.
And then after stuff sort of spiraled down the drain over there, and most of the “friends” in our little social circle turned their backs on me, I moved 1500 miles west to finish my senior year of high school out here. I just want you to know that I appreciate you sticking around during that time, even though we weren’t really that close anymore by then.
Man…it really is funny how life works out. I could’ve sworn we’d be the best men at each other’s weddings by now. Okay…maybe not quite yet. We at least should’ve been working or living together or something.
I don’t really know what you’re up to these days. I heard you joined the army after graduating high school, and you married that one girl from the dance team, Michelle. I didn’t know her too well. I don’t think she liked me much…or thought I was a loser or something. I recently heard you guys divorced, so she probably thinks you’re a loser too.
Actually, the last I heard, you’re stationed out in Virginia…or somewhere around there. Hope things are going well. I hope you’re not in Iraq or something.
You were a good friend, and you’re still the only person named George that I’ve personally known. I hope you write back some day.
Your full-Korean friend,
Song of the Day: