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I think back to one of the most important days in my life, September 7th 1992. I smile fondly as I remember that day; it was the day Kevin and I first met. It was our first day of preschool. I remember getting into the car that day. I was so excited during the drive to school, to make new friends and to show all the kids my brand new light up sneakers. However, when I got to school the fear started to kick in. I walked into the classroom, wearing my new sneakers, and carrying my blue rugrats backpack. My one hand was in my pocket, where I was rolling my lucky blue marble in my palm. With my other hand, I was squeezing my mom’s fingers, and I was on the verge of tears. That’s when a boy walked up to me, a huge smile on his face, his floppy blond hair covering one of his blue eyes. “Hi, I’m Kevin,” he said. “Nice to meet you! It’s my fourth birthday. My mommy baked me some cupcakes for today. Do you want one?” “Y-y-yes please,” I stammered. I felt my mom’s hand start to loosen its grip on mine. She knelt beside me and said,”Sweetie, I have to go to work now. I’m sure you’ll have fun. Just be yourself and try to make some new friends. Love you my little munchkin.” I hugged her goodbye and walked over to the table where Kevin’s cupcakes were. He handed me one and said,”Here you go,” he said. “Wanna go play with some lego?” This immediately took away all the fear I was feeling, as lego was one of my favourite things to play with.”Sure!” I said, very excitedly.”I think we’re going to be really good friends,” said Kevin. “Me too” I said, happy that I had already made my first friend in preschool. “So,” he said, “what’s your name?””Jake,” I said. “Happy birthday by the way.””Do you wanna see something cool I brought from home?” Kevin said, pulling a silver coin out of his pocket. “This coin was made in 1919, that’s like a zillion years ago. Wanna have it to promise that we’ll be best friends forever?””Woah that’s so cool,” I said. “I’ll take it!” I felt kind of guilty because I didn’t have anything to give back. Then I remembered my lucky blue marble was in my pocket. I really didn’t want to give it away, but decided to give it to him since we were going to be best friends forever.   “Thanks, I love marbles!” he replied. “Let’s go play lego.” We played lego together, interrupted a few times when Kevin had to go give someone else a cupcake, for what felt like quite some time. We sat beside each other during story time. I helped him with our alphabet practice and he helped me with my math questions. By the time we had to go home, it felt like I had known Kevin for my entire life.My and Kevin’s friendship only grew stronger throughout elementary school. Every Saturday, we would meet up at one of our houses, which were only a few blocks from each other, and ride our bikes to Waverley Park. There, we would play with a soccer ball, a frisbee, or we would jump around on the structure. One Saturday, I think we were in grade three, Kevin decided it would be lots of fun to climb the big elm tree in the middle of the park. Me, having always been told by my parents “climbing trees is dangerous,” decided that I didn’t want to climb the tree.”Kev, I really don’t think that’s a good idea. What if we fall and hurt ourselves?””You wimp!” Kevin yelled, already racing up the trunk of the tree. His arms were already muscular for our age, and he whipped up the tree in seconds. He looked at me from above and made a pouty face, widening his bright blue eyes and rolling down his lower lip. “Come on Jake. Please come up, it’ll be fun, I promise.” “Fine,” I said reluctantly. Slowly, I climbed up the tree. I was getting quite tired, but thankfully when I got near the branch Kevin was on, he pulled me up. The view from the tree was amazing. You could see the whole park, from the colourful gardens on one end, to the play structure on the other. Kevin and I sat on that branch for about an hour, talking about our lives, and enjoying the sights beneath us. “I think I might get a buzz cut,” Kevin said, out of the blue. He had had the same haircut for quite some time, his blond hair short on the sides, longer in the middle, always a little messy.”Why would you do that?” I asked.”So it can match my dad’s,” Kevin said, with a proud look on his face. “My dad’s in the army, and he has to keep his hair short. I wanna be just like him when I grow up. He protects our country from evil people. Isn’t that cool?””Yeah,” I said, “he must be a great guy.” I didn’t know Kevin’s dad too well. He was normally deployed somewhere, or sometimes he was stationed somewhere else in Canada. I met him once or twice and he seemed like a nice guy, and Kevin always looked up to him. We continued to go to that tree to talk throughout elementary school, whether it was about a movie we had just saw, something that had happened at school that day, or girls that we liked. By the time middle school rolled around, Kevin and I had become quite different from each other. He was a talkative, outgoing kid, very athletic, with a large group of friends, and he was quite popular with the girls. However, for him school was a struggle, and he couldn’t get his grades to where he wanted them. On the other hand, I was a fairly shy kid, who didn’t excel in sports, but wasn’t terrible at them. For me, school was a breeze, and I didn’t have to try very hard to get good marks. I had a smaller tight-knit group of friends. Most of them thought of Kevin as “that cocky popular boy.” I didn’t care though, I wasn’t nearly as close with any of them as I was with Kevin. It may have not seemed like we were that close at school, because we were in lots of different classes and had different friends groups, but we still hung out almost every day after school.In the summer after 8th grade, Kevin and I went to our tree to talk. We decided that we were going to make grade 8 a lot better. We came up with a plan to make eachothers lives a bit easier.”So, the agreement is,” said Kevin, “that you’ll help me with my grades, and I’ll help you make some more friends.” “Yeah, that pretty much sums it up,” I said as I started climbing down the tree. We stuck to that agreement. In grade 9, Kevin and I became much closer at school. I helped him and some of his friends with their schoolwork, and I became a part of their friend group. Sometimes I would walk past my old friends from middle school and give them a nod, but they saw me the same way as they had seen Kevin in middle school, as a cocky popular kid. My new friends liked to party quite a bit, and normally I didn’t go to the parties, because they weren’t really my scene. Kevin always tried to get me to go with him, and I did occasionally. “Hey Jake, you coming to the big party on Saturday?” Kevin asked me, one day in late June.”I don’t know man, you know I’m not a fan of parties,” I said, rolling my eyes. “C’mon man, it’s the last one of grade 9, it’s going to be epic,” said Kevin. I could tell by the way he was looking at me that he really wanted me to go. “Sure, I guess I’ll come,” I said. “A little party never hurt anyone.” Saturday rolled around, and I was anxious about going. I had been to a few smaller parties with Kevin before, but not one this large. I was wondering what I should wear, as I didn’t really know how people were supposed to dress for parties. I decided that I couldn’t go wrong with blue jeans and a plain white t-shirt. I looked in the mirror. I was looking pretty good, so I decided to head over to the party. When I got there, most people had already arrived. Kevin saw me from across the room and walked up to me.”Isn’t this great man,” Kevin said. I could smell the alcohol in his breath while he spoke.”Yeah, totally,” I said sarcastically. Kevin didn’t seem to notice. “Okay, well I’m gonna go tear it up on the dance floor, see ya,” Kevin said. So, I was left alone, not really knowing what to do. Suddenly, a girl who I had never met before walked up to me. “Hey,” she said, “I just wanted to tell you that you look really cute. You have like the perfect shade of brown hair. It’s like not too light but also not too dark.” “Thanks, I guess,” I said, wondering what was happening”Also, you have the nicest green eyes, they shine like emeralds,” she said. I was trying to make out what was happening.’Is this what flirting is?’ I thought to myself. I wasn’t exactly what someone would call “popular” with the girls, so I didn’t really know what it was like to be flirted to. Suddenly, this mystery girl leaned in, gave me a peck on the lips, giggled, and ran away. I was so shocked. My first kiss and I didn’t even know who the girl was. In an instant, Kevin was at my side.

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