When I was little, I lived in a tiny town in Northwestern Connecticut. The town had a population of maybe 1,200. Small. We were surrounded by trees.
It's...it's hard for me to describe the town without having you already know what it looks like, but imagine a place where all life is hidden by forests, thick forests, and neighbors are a tenth of a mile away.
I was lucky though. My parents built their house right next to their best friends house. They both had children. Brian and I were friends since the moment we were brought home.
As we got older, Brian and I played in the woods and our yards during the day and at night we would make silly faces and shine flashlights at each other through the windows.
Brian...I've avoided describing Brian as much as possible. I'm sorry. But he had brown hair, and glasses. A gentle smile.
When we started school we held each other's hands as we walked in. We didn't know any of the other children.
I remember, sometime in the first week there was a schoolyard fight. A big kid and a smaller, scrawny tanned kid in a neighborhood full of Anglo-Saxons.
The big kid was slowly looming and the scrawny kid was bouncing around, moving his hands like a boxer and shouting.
" I'm so fast that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and was in bed before the room was dark! You can't take me! I'm the greatest!"
We were six. This is how we met Maurice.
Brian ran foreward and made sure the big kid and Maurice wouldn't fight. As the crowd dispersed, dissapointed Maurice turned towards us and said quietly. "t-thanks." Only then did I see how scared he looked, the tear drops in the corner of his eyes.
"I-I'm Maurice." He smiled awkwardly at us.
"My name is Brian an' this is Rachael."
From then on, the three of us were inspererable. Maurice showed us Shakespeare, made us bike to the resevoir where we broke into the tower in the middle, made the best group Halloween costumes. We were the only people who knew that Maurice, when not acting, had a halting stutter, a speech problem. It wouldn't be until High School that he had it fixed. Maurice cried when we watched anything remotely sad.
And I watched.
Once a week, he'd stay over at Brian's house. Maurice and his parents never really got along, and that was they could still hang out with me
And sometimes, we'd go camping out in the forest behind the house. But that is a story for later.