Right now, you are feeling mixed emotions. You were feeling anxious about the prospect of a new school, hoping that it will be a new beginning. The lady across the canal from you has sent you a postcard and said that you’ll meet many new friends at the new school.
When you started at your current school, a few kids from your old kindergarten were there, but school is daunting compared to kindergarten. And they were put into other classes apart from one, and they quickly made new friends, but not so you. The boy who was in your class at kindergarten is not a true friend, so it will be good for you to escape him. A true friend doesn’t try to get you to do the wrong thing. Fortunately for you, he will be in England when you leave that school. The boy who has become your friend, while he has done some naughty things, and wanted you to write his lines for him, has a hard life. His parents manage a squash court, and don’t have time for him, so he develops a vivid imagination to compensate, and he expands upon things he hears with questionable “facts”. Not paranoid delusions, just that he pushed his sister up onto his upper bunk with one finger. Although he appreciates you keeping him company when a hairy caterpillar causes him a rash and you go up to the deck lounge that passes as a sick bay and sit with him. On your third last day, he hopes against hope that you won’t leave the school. The die is cast, however.
As an adult, you remember him, and how your friendship was almost as binding as any marriage, and wonder what he’s doing, but you think to yourself, “Maybe it’s better to remember the friendship for what it was.”
The lady across the canal is half-right, but that won’t be revealed until a few years later. You will encounter an incessant bully, and one who, while he is possibly a genuine victim of others, turns himself into the victim when reported.
Three years after this move, a true friend will emerge out of tragic circumstances. The true friend’s mother will pass away, after a fight with cancer, and the incessant bully will torment him. When the principal is going to cane the bully, the true friend asks the principal not to cane him and mentions how he was tormenting you. The bully is threatened with four strokes of the cane, which sickens you, BUT you become aware that if the principal had called the bully into his office on the first day of the last term of primary school and said, “Right, we’re going to make a deal, you and me. I’m putting this two- dollar note into an envelope, and if you can refrain from bullying for one whole term, I’ll buy you lunch on Graduation Day. You can have, say, a salad bowl, an ice block or ice cream and a packet of chips, or a sandwich, a drink and a donut,” he’d have walked out of the principal’s office and been back to his usual. That boy’s kindness will touch you for years.
There will be good and bad, but if you don’t make this move, you may face several possibilities. You’ll find you like Japanese, and your teacher will have no small part in that. You may have learnt it at another school and not had such a good teacher. You may not have done well enough to go to university. You may not have met a teacher who’ll help you understand math.
You have to be brave. It will be hard. You will struggle, but 40 years from now, you’ll be glad you did.
Love, 48-year-old Peter.