I wonder who remembers me from childhood. I wonder if my face or my name or something I did will pop into someone’s, anyone’s, head at random. I myself may not remember them, but maybe they remember me. I wonder if I said or did something that still impacts them, even if I can’t remember what it was or that I had an impact to begin with.
I can recall a vast majority of my classmates names from all throughout my school years, mostly because I was an observer and they didn’t know my name while I knew all the stories they’d tell in class growing up, but also because they shaped me. They shaped me in good ways and bad, big ways and small.
On occasion, I will think briefly about the first person to kiss me on the cheek, the first person to call me a “teacher’s pet,” the first person I made a mean comment to, the first person I passed notes with in class, the first person to make me feel like I belonged, the first person to make me feel like I didn’t, and so on.
The first time I slept over at my best friends house, surrounded by six girls I’d never met, I knew instantly that they were going to change my life. I distinctly remember thinking “I’ve never laughed this much before.” A whole new world was opened up to me and I felt more alive than I ever had up to that point. To them, it was another Saturday night. To me, it was a start to a new life. Even if I don’t talk to most of them now, they made me who I am and I have no idea if they know that.
Or sometimes I will think of the boy who told me in the ninth grade that I had “a fat face and a skinny body” and realize how that gave me a complex that I carry with me today. I’ll realize how I still look at photos of myself and immediately think, “I need to lose weight because now I have a fat body and an even fatter face,” despite knowing that I don’t really think it’s true. I’ll remember the way he kissed me, my first kiss, and still wonder how a person could say they liked me and insult me at the same time. When I think of that, I take note to always be conscious of the things I say to those I care about.
I don’t know if I ever cross their minds, or if they even remember my name, but I’m grateful for all the memories that have stayed with me all these years. Each one, each person, came with a lesson, a pivotal moment, or even a simple smile that I remember for an unknown reason. They were all equally important to my growth, no matter if it was a close friend or a classmate whom I never spoke to.
I hope that someone still thinks of me the same way.