I was eight years old and skinny and new to the school, and my parents spoke with thick accents. Bernie combed his hair straight back and often tilted on the back legs of his chair, a pencil stuck idly in his mouth, and there were several girls who walked by his desk a lot.
Bernie offered me his friendship not so much by anything he said, but just by following me out the door to recess a couple of times and lining up next to me for milk. We became partners in foursquare.
In the spring of that year we were doing morning math, me hunched over my desk, Bernie leaning back, gazing. There was a rocket-like suddenness to what happened next, Bernie shooting over the back of his chair and falling to the floor.
I barely stifled a laugh, Mrs. Agee’s “four legs on the floor” rule once again claiming its due.
As I turned to see with what sheepish look Bernie would rise to his feet, I saw Mrs...Read More