It’s amazing how it’s the first encounters that stick with you. Some are the beginning of long chapters in your book. Some are only short excerpts that never get fully developed.
At that age, boys who liked to read were uncommon. Boys who played sports, were great at math and openly talked about their fiction read du jour were rare. We had no reason to speak to each other, except for the fact that we were both really good at math. Our seats in that advanced math class proved it; our spot in the gradebook reinforced it.
Each week the teacher would pass out the exams and say “Let me pass out these tests quickly so you can fail them.” We would look at each other and back to him, as if to say “watch us ace your stupid test.” I learned to work well against the clock and to triple check my work. The class buzzed each week about who would pass the other in the results and by how many points. I had my bad weeks but being second was never a bad thing.
We finished our assignments early, traded tricks on graphic calculators and talked about the books we were reading. He was the brown-haired, blue-eyed jock and I was the girl from somewhere else, who barely spoke…except in Advanced Math.
The homecoming dance was two weeks away, and he hadn’t asked anyone to the dance yet. He was thinking about going, at least that’s what the girls in the class said. The next week, we moved and I started school in another district.