When I was 11 years old, we lived in Virginia, and I had a best friend named Jennifer.
We were in the same class, and lived about five blocks apart. We'd both grown up overseas. We quickly became best friends.
And one day, one day we had this huge fight. I can't remember what it was about, but I had been wronged. I came home sobbing. We were no longer friends.
This we're-not-friends might've lasted a week; I don't recall. But we went back to being best friends for the rest of the year, and the one following. And then they moved away.
We kept in touch, but sporadically. It was the age of letter-writing, after all, and I was kind of a sucky correspondent.
By the time I graduated from high school in Delhi, Jennifer's family was back in Virginia, living in their old house, about to move on to another country. My family had was just moving back. So five years later, we were once again briefly in the same place.
I was excited to see her. I told my dad I was going over to Jennifer's house. And he made a face. "Why?"
"Don't you remember what she did to you?"
"What she did to me?"
"In sixth grade?"
I went over to her house. She was packing up to head down to college early for sorority rush. It was nice to see each other. We didn't exchange addresses.
And that was that. I hadn't really thought about her until now, decades later.
Today is my boy's last day with his best friend. Thinking about it chokes me up.
He wakes up in the morning, says, "Hi! ALLarm!" and then "David?"
When the doorbell rings, he always assumes it's them, yells, "David!" and charges for the door. When they are apart, they say each others names about 769 times a day.
They've only been friends for about six months. But six months is almost a third of their little lives.
I know, I know, he'll be fine. He's not even two. At some point, David will fade from memory. He'll go on to have so many more friends.
This is probably more painful for me.
But this is his first loss. Until enough time passes, he will wait for someone who is never coming back. This has happened to all of us at different times, in various ways.
But he won't understand why.
It breaks my heart.