I’ve known this guy since fourth grade: an awkward individual that has brought a lot into my life. I haven’t given him much thought until recently, with the stresses of life weighing down upon me. And yet, it is silence which has brought the most out of us.
Being friends with him wasn’t necessarily a goal I plotted in my bucket list, but something rather serendipitous. For the first few years I met him he was the classmate who was alike yet different from me in so many ways. He was quiet, shy, but retrospective and amazingly interesting (I tend to find other people interesting in general). It wasn’t until middle school that we built the foundation for our friendship. Until then, however, he was someone familiar to talk to while our moms discussed classes and education during Back-to-School nights and Fall Festivals in elementary.
In middle school, things took off. Being set in the same “block” of classes due to our “advanced” performance, we were able to interact more, discussing our favorite video games or bands or crazy scientific theories or pseudo-philosophical ideas. All through 6th, 7th, and 8th grade, he became someone to confide in, laugh with (and at), but most importantly, sit in silence with. This silence is what, I believe, to be the greatest part of our friendship.
Silences are deemed unpleasant, a sign of a lack of words to fill the void which pierces us in when we are alone. However, being with someone like him makes those silences something to appreciate. It is not the lack of words, but rather the presence of so much to discuss and contemplate about that being in silence is the apt action. The most memorable example of our silent communication is when we would hang out after school on Fridays and bike somewhere exciting and unfamiliar. Usually with drinks in hand and seats below us (be it curb, chair, concrete) and we would observe life pass by. The silence between us spoke louder than any words we could have uttered, allowing us to appreciate life pensively, together.
High school has hit hard on him and I. We have been through countless (now) pointless disagreements and questionings of each other, due to the growing contrast in how we have developed. We still do encounter differences in ideals every so often. Often times I have looked at him and wondered if he was still the same reserved, introverted kid I have known since fourth grade, at Cox Elementary, in Mr. Masterson’s class, and I’m sure he has done the same for me. But despite all which has occurred and which will occur, when I sit down with him, mango smoothies in hand, that old, familiar silence will come rushing back and nothing more will need to be said.