Sometimes I wonder about my old classmates. Not high school or even junior high, but the really old-school kids, like the 5th and 6th graders. What happened to those people? In this particular area, the majority of us saw the same faces throughout our schooling, from elementary school all the way up to even the college days. But I wonder about the few that fell away, the ones I never saw again.
There was this one kid in my 6th grade class. On the surface, he seemed quiet, but I quickly learned the truth. Because we were placed in an alphabetical seating arrangement, he wasn’t exactly nearby. Nevertheless, he usually found a way (during the few times we could chat in class) to shout quips and jokes at my expense from across the room. Most of those jokes were about my sideburns. He was obsessed with my sideburns.
(Backstory: what does an 11-year old girl know about waxing, or Nair, or whatever? Nothing. So, yes, I had a lot of facial hair.)
“Look at her sideburns! They’re longer than mine!” He called those things to attention whenever he could. It was incredible. I couldn’t be hurt or offended at first, because, um, I didn’t know what sideburns were. What? I didn’t know. After finding out what he was specifically referring to, I still couldn’t be offended or hurt. Strangely enough, my little 11-year old mind was thoroughly intrigued by this kid. (I think the old self-esteem was still gestating at that point. Didn’t last long, though). Despite the jokes at my expense, he was kind of funny, in a way. And, although times like these were a bit rare, he would actually speak to me here and there. We would speak like normal kids, laughing about something mutually funny, that sort of thing. Those rare moments were cool. Eventually, however, he would remember his role and return to the sideburn jokes, or make fun of a shirt I was wearing, or the fact that the jeans I wore on Tuesday made an appearance on Wednesday (and Thursday and Friday, for that matter). Anyway, I do wonder what became of him. Where are you, Sideburn Boy? What must your life be like? (You never know: he may own an electrolysis firm or something. Perhaps his interest in my sideburns was a thinly-veiled attempt to hide a burgeoning love for hair follicles. I may have single-handedly inspired a career.)
There was a boy who painted his shoes. Where is he?
There was a girl that enjoyed biting her classmates. What happened to her?
Would we even recognize one another, if we crossed paths? Whatever the case may be, and owing to the power that children have, I’d like to state that to this day, I check the length of my sideburns as much as I can. To toot my own horn? They’re awesome.