An Ode to Lost Friends

The mind is truly a fragile thing, and an unfortunate truth is that in order for it to maintain itself, it must forget things eventually. Even people we once held dear cannot always escape this fate. Today’s post is an ode to forgotten friends. I remember you, even if I cannot remember who you were.

This post is actually one of the first that I wanted to write for my blog. I’ve been working on it since before this site even existed, and it’s the reason I have my People series in the first place. This series exists to help prevent me from forgetting anyone else important to me. I’ve always had a bad memory, so I try my damnedest to catalog whatever I can; be it through pictures, video, or blog posts.

Many of these stories will be conjecture, as I can hardly tell real memories from false ones when they’re so old, but I’m trying my best to recall them as true as I can.

2nd Grade Spanish

In 2nd grade, we got a new student in my predominantly white, upper-middle class elementary school, and, at the time, he didn’t speak English; only Spanish. As such, my school took the opportunity to teach us Spanish so that we still communicate with him while he learned English. Having a school that not only had the money to do that, but the initiative, was truly a privilege I never really appreciated.

Lucky for me, I had a head start. My father regularly made work trips out west, as well as to Mexico, so I already had some practice with Spanish from him. I distinctly recall that even a good handful of my childhood books were strictly in Spanish.

This new kid and I became fast friends. I recall many days out on the playground with him at recess. I don’t think either of us could fluently understand each other, but that doesn’t matter when you’re kids. Play is the only language that matters then.

What I do know, though, is that I don’t know what ever happened to him. I don’t know his name, and I don’t even know when I lost track of him. I believe it would’ve been somewhere in 4th grade, but that’s only a guess. I stayed in my school system from start to end, and I’m fairly certain he wasn’t in our graduating class, and I don’t think he was in jr. high either. Surely his family just moved away at some point, but he and I were such good friends, and it wasn’t until later in college I even remembered he existed.


One time, I went on a trip with my friend Michael. Most likely we were going fishing with his dad. This would’ve been in early-mid jr. high. On our way there, we stopped at someone’s house that I recognized, but couldn’t place why. The kid there had some sort of developmental disability, and I had the strongest urge that this was someone I knew in the past. We only stopped by for a minute, and then went on our way.

Later on, I asked Michael who that was. I believe he told me his name was Jeff, and that he was a long-time friend of his. I asked if I knew him too, and that’s when he informed me that we used to play baseball together!

I played baseball for many years (always the shortstop, much to my chagrin), but stopped in 2nd grade when my grandfather passed away. As depressing as it is, the grieving process just hit too hard, and I couldn’t play any sports for years. As such, I lost a lot of friends that I had made on my team.

Every now and again I think about Jeff. I wonder how close we once were. I wonder if his name was actually Jeff. And I wonder if he ever remembers me.

Looking in the Wrong Place

When I was roughly 7 or 8, there was a teen across the street from my grandma that I would occasionally hang out with when we were over at her house. I think we hung out mostly because my grandma and his grandma were friends. I don’t remember much of him anymore. I recall that he was decently nice to me considering I was just a kid. The other thing I remember, is that he was often playing this crazy cool looking game on his TV. It featured little army guys on a grid, had turn-based combat, and whenever combat was initiated, there’d be little animations of the troops taking damage; each side getting their own animations on each side of the screen. I recognized that he was playing it on a GameCube, but that’s all the info I could retain.

Years later, probably around the time I was 18, I remembered him, and I remembered that game I was so enamored with, but I had so little to go on. I scoured listings of GameCube games looking for anything that resembled the one I had seen, but had no luck. After some weeks of looking, I had given up. Maybe I dreamt it, or maybe it was a false memory.

As it happens, though, once you stop looking for something, it has a tendency to fall into your lap. Some months later I was looking at GameBoy Advanced ROMs to put onto my Raspberry Pi, and there it was! Advance Wars! I looked up screenshots and game play videos, and this was definitely it. But then, how was he playing it on the GameCube? Turns out there was an adapter for the GameCube that let you play GBA games on it!

With that mystery out of the way, the only thing let is, who was that guy I used to call a friend?

Where To Go From Here?

I take many steps now to reduce the potential entropy of those around me. Like I said before, that’s the whole point of my People series of blog posts. Even if my head can’t hold the memories, as long as they’re written down, they’re true. As long as they’re written down, they’re real. Outside of blog posts, I have pictures. I take pictures whenever I go somewhere new, and I take them of my partner and I, and I take them at concerts, and I take them at parties. I hoard hard drives from my computers as they get phased out. As long as the files are there, they’re real. I need there to be proof my life is real.

With all these stories, I try to give myself grace. I was only a kid when I met these people, so it’s natural I would’ve forgotten some of them. That said, it pains me no less to know that people who, at one point of time, were my whole world and yet they were so thoroughly erased from my mind. Who do I know now that ten years from now will be nonexistent to me? Who do I exist to now that ten years from now I’ll just be a passing feeling for?

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