On my first day of sixth grade, I met a guy named Justin who had a speech impediment and was slightly below average intelligence. He attended a regular class but it was difficult for him to do exactly what everyone else did. Seeing this the teacher asked me to help him, and it became a cherished memory for me.
One day that year after being friends with him for a few months he invited me to his birthday party at his house. I was the only person he invited because the other kids were cruel and didn’t have patience with his speech impediment. He would sometimes stutter and often he couldn’t find the word he was trying to say. I got very good at knowing what he was trying to say and volunteering the word he was searching for. A skill I still have thanks to him. I sympathized easily with his stutter because when I was younger I had a stutter too. I did that when I felt emotionally overwhelmed or anxious about the social situation I was in.
So I’m at his house and it’s late at night and we are watching movies. I say to him, “Hey Justin, why did you invite only me to your birthday party? I think Jason and John would have come too if you had asked them.”
He surprised me with what he said. He said “You’re my best friend and I just wanted to spend time with you.” and smiled. I was very happy that I had found a good friend like him.
The rest of the year goes very well and we continue to be friends. When the end of the sixth grade happens Justin tells me that his family is moving and he will be sad to not spend time together anymore. I give him a hug thank him for being my friend and give him my postal address so we can write.
He never did write and I wondered what happened to him. He often lost things so maybe that’s what happened. Or perhaps he found a new good friend at his new place. I sometimes wonder where you are Justin and if your life is happy. I hope it is. You help make mine better.