Devon was one of my longest friendships. We met when we were six and remained close until we were twenty. We were always a pair, but I don’t know if I would say that we were really equals. Devon was always a leader in the groups we joined, always choosing the direction that was ahead, and I was his support, someone to carry out plans and prop him up when he needed me. He was my closest friend for most of my life.
I first met Devon because he tackled me in the sandbox. I liked to dig holes and build castles when I was a little kid, and he liked to knock things down. I would run from him on the playground, but he would always catch me. He was stronger and faster.
When Devon caught up to me, he would hug me as tightly as he could. Sometimes his arms would circle my ribs, sometimes my neck. I often couldn’t breath very well. Once he had me, he would take me where he wanted me, and I would play the game he wanted to play.
I eventually learned not to run, and developed a position I could shape my body into that would keep me as safe as possible. I would stand still, move my shoulders up as high as they could go, and drop my neck, pulling my head into my body life a turtle. I would fold my arms in front of my face and just wait. I became friends with him because there wasn’t anything else for me to do.