Rule #1 – This is only going to last for a week
When I was in second grade, a new girl started coming to school partway through the year. I don't remember when exactly it happened, but I remember her name.
It was Ashley.
I wasn't a huge fan of school back then. Nah, that's not true. I've never been a huge fan of school, but I especially hated it back then. It really pissed me off. The teachers were alright, but the kids I had class with were annoying as fuck.
My dad's rich. My dad's been rich since I was born, and there's nothing I can do about that. Back then, my mom and my dad were rich. That's kind of how it works when two people are married to each other.
Everyone at school knew it, too. They all bugged me and wanted to be my friend, wanted me to buy them shit. What the fuck do I look like, a bank?
Kind of ironic considering Ashley's last name is Banks. She's the only one who didn't bother me about money or anything, though. She was actually the only one who didn't bother me at all.
When she first showed up in class, I watched her. She was pretty. She's still pretty. Pretty sure she'll always be pretty. She wore these cute little skirts and she looked so dainty and polite, and for whatever reason she knew all the answers to every question our teacher asked. Fuck if I know how she did it. It was real impressive, though.
At recess, I followed her around. She didn't have friends yet. I don't even know if she knew how to make friends. She looked kind of lost, but not exactly alone or sad about it, if you know what I mean? Just lost, and she seemed fine with that. I trailed behind her while she tested out one of the swings and played alone on a jungle gym. None of the other kids bothered with her. Everyone already had their own friends to play with.
I could play with anyone I wanted. Everyone was happy to have me join them. I was good at sports back then, too. Always have been, I guess. I'm not sure if that was the reason, or if they just wanted me to invite them back to my house to hang out after school and play video games. Probably the video games.
Anyways, eventually Ashley saw me. I wasn't exactly being covert here. I was in second grade. You think I'm some kind of ninja or something? Nah.
She was swinging on a swing and she glanced to the side and saw me, then she smiled. “Do you want to come swing with me?” she asked.
“Sure,” I said. Because, why not? I walked over and sat on the swing next to her, then started to go all out. Real athletic-like, Ethan Colton the professional swing master.
She just watches me, giving me this look. I don't know what kind of look it was, but I remember thinking she looked like an adult.
“Why are you swinging so fast and so high?” she asks.
“Because I can!” I shouted back at her.
“It's not as fun,” she says. “It's too much.”
Too much? What the hell is she talking about? I didn't understand it back then. What does too much even mean? I thought everything was supposed to be a lot. Everything needed to be more. And here's this girl telling me that it's too much. Crazy.
I slowed down, though. She smiles at me when I do, and we start to swing slower. It's not exactly slow, but it's a nice pace. I can feel the whoosh of air going past my face. It's not a frantic rush this time, it's just nice and calm and relaxing. Yeah, maybe this is nice, too.
“Do you know who I am?” I ask her.
“Your name is Ethan,” she says.
“Yup, Ethan Colton!” I told her. “My family is rich. I can buy anything.”
“No you can't,” she says. I remember thinking that this girl was dumb. Of course I can! Anything! She's a liar.
“Nuh uh,” I said. “I can.”
“Nope!” She sounded so determined and headstrong. It caught me off guard. “You can't buy me, so you can't buy everything.”
Wow. Foiled. Did she really just destroy me like that? This is serious stuff for a second grader.
“I bet I can,” I say, trying to sound like a tough guy. “I bet my dad could get your mom to sell you to us for a million dollars.”
“Nope, she wouldn't,” Ashley says.
“He could pay more, too. He's got a zillion of dollars.”
“That's not a real number,” she says, sticking out her tongue at me. “It wouldn't matter, anyways. My mom wouldn't sell me for anything, because I'm special.”
Well, fuck. Who is this girl? “Alright, but my dad can buy a lot of stuff for me if I want him to.”
“So?” she asks. “Why's that important?”
“I don't know,” I say. No one's ever asked me that before. “It just is, I think. That's what everyone says.”
“Nuh uh. Everyone doesn't say it because I didn't say it. Maybe everyone else but me says it, though.”
The bell rang then and recess ended. We needed to go back inside. I walked next to Ashley all the way back. We didn't talk, we were quiet.
Before we went inside, I said, “Hey, do you want to hang out at recess again next time? We can swing together if you want.”
“Sure!” she answered, smiling.