In Memoriam BB

by Richard
(Cambridge, MA)

“BB” was my best friend from kindergarten through elementary school. He lived on the same street as I. Well, not exactly on the same street; a “back path” that in earlier times had been used by milkmen connected our houses.

The “back path,” as we called it, now served as the perimeter of the school playground, and most mornings, we would meet at a place roughly halfway between our houses, where there was a gaping hole in the chain-link fence. That’s how we went to school most mornings: through that hold in the chain-link fence, up a small hill, and across the playground. On cool mornings, our shoes would be wet from the dew by the time we got to the schoolhouse.

BB and I spent a lot of time together growing up, and a lot of that time was spent romping around, but for some reason when I think of BB now, I think mostly about silent times—the silent greeting in the morning before school, the silent passing through the chain-link fence, the silent walk across the grass. I don’t know why that silence seems so salient to me now, but it was a silence that became real, grew larger, when we moved on to junior high school, and starting moving in different worlds, worlds not connected by any back path.

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