I suddenly started thinking about a boy from my earliest days at school. We called him DJ. He definitely would’ve been labeled with ADHD and given meds at this point in his life. DJ was a huge part of my life without him even realizing it. I was raised as a people pleaser, so I knew I couldn’t in trouble at school. I had such a hard time paying attention from about second grade on. We had so much independent seatwork to do and it was painful to sit there for what had to be hours in the morning, plugging away at a stupid packet. I was clever enough to watch the teacher and when she was distracted with a reading group or talking to another teacher, I would run around my desk once or twice and sit back down. Or I sharpened my pencil repeatedly.

DJ sat near me, and he was easily distracted. I would whisper his name abd make funny faces at him or pretend to lick my paste. He would laugh and do it back. But he’d get caught every time. I never got caught. My teachers always seemed to love me and never would’ve believed that I was starting this trouble. DJ had a hard time with school work and deflected that by being funny. He had more jokes than anyone I knew and he loved making people laugh.

I always wanted DJ to be my best friend and we kind of were in school. I didn’t see him very often outside of school anyway. We went to different churches, did different activities, and our parents weren’t friends.

DJ died in 2011 of heart attack. His girlfriend was pregnant with their son. He was only 35. I remember when it happened back in 2011 and I still think about him sometimes, especially when I remember something funny from school back then. I forget for a second that he’s gone, but I remember quickly. And it always makes me sad that someone who was such a huge part of my early life is gone, even if we didn’t talk again about 6th grade because I moved.

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