New Boys

We were new boys in a new school, he and I.

He was the first to introduce himself. The first to fit in.
It took me a while to figure things out.

He was always first with a joke and a smile.
I was too busy reading paperbacks in class.

He was the first to figure that the knot on the school tie 
was perfect camouflage for the quiet rebellion of leaving 
undone that suffocating top button.

I caught on, a few days later.

He was the first to adorn the ubiquitous post-school 
denim jacket, with patches of bands now forgotten. 

I promptly followed suit. 

He was the first to figure out the logical intricacies 
of ICSE mathematics. 

Then, as now, I stuck to the semantical sanity of words. 

I don't recall either of us consistently coming first in class, 
but he was the first to figure out that what really mattered 
was finding something you loved doing, and being good at it. 

Took me years to catch on to that one.

He was the first to figure out how to bunk. 
And the first to visit the headmaster.

In both cases, I was half a step  behind. 

Being something of a gentleman, he never told,
but I'm pretty sure he was first to figure out girls.
(As much as any man ever can.)

The day I split my head wide open, the effects of which
are still plain to see, he was first to take me to the doc.
And stuck around till panicking parents arrived.

Thankfully, I never had cause to return the favour.

Years after graduating, and going our separate ways,
he was first to get back in touch. 

Something I never thanked him for sufficiently.

He was the first to tell my wife what I was like
as a terrible teen. 

The three of us caching up over a good drink, 
and old school stories. 

After all these years of playing catch up, 
I won't say goodbye, Kaushal. 

I'll just say see you later.


Anita said...

Nice. It is always great to have a childhood friend who can update the spouse..

byker7 said...

Anita. Taken me a while to respond. Probably because I haven't wanted to dwell on the response. Let's just say this is a black-bordered post, and leave it at that.

Savera said...

This... is the blog I was looking for. I hope you write again. Thank you for such a wonderful read.

byker7 said...

Thanks Savera.