So there was this kid. This little Hispanic kid, maybe sixteen, with a sickly, see-through mustache and Princess Leia buns on his head. Or rather that's what they looked like. It was hard to tell with the black hoodie he wore pulled up around his face. Maybe his hair was pushed forward by the hood, or maybe Cruller Chic is the new look. I don't know and who am I to judge, really? All I know is that he looked like a masculine Princess Leia and he wore a hoodie. And he wouldn't stop talking to me or following us on our walk. Duncan and I had spent some time playing in the snow on the field and as we rounded the baseball fields this Star Wars cantina-looking kid comes out of no where and starts making conversation like we've known each other for years. "Is this Columbine?" he asked, gesturing wildly around the park. I nodded and pointed toward the high school. "Yeah, right over there," I told him. "All this?" he asked, his eyes wider than a Womp Rat at Toshi's Power Station. "No, just that," I pointed again without breaking my stride. Duncan had places to go, geese to chase. "Yeah, I start here in a couple of days," he said, plunking his hands deep into the pockets of his hoodie. I smiled, the kind of smile that says, "That's nice. Now go away." I'm not an unfriendly chap, not at all. Just the other day we made friends (again) with Simon and Penny, the two Basset Hounds, and their people, Tom and Sharon, who suffered a stroke while walking her dogs right before Christmas. We'd chatted for nearly an hour, about all sorts of things, like Yellowstone Park, strokes, places to walk dogs, strokes. I like talking to other dog walkers, but this kid had no dog. And it was cold. So I kept walking and he kept following and it was only when he said, "So you go here, right?" Here meaning Columbine. "What grade you in?"
That was when my heart opened up and I no longer cared that he looked like Carrie Fisher with a five o'clock shadow. That's when he became my new best friend.
What grade am I in? It was like 1988 all over again.