Letters and Words (part 3)

“Write an essay in which you analyze the key experiences that shaped the way you read and write…”

Let’s start at a beginning. This story begins in second grade.

Second grade was easy. All you had to do was talk to people, raise your hand occasionally, finish your work early, read books, and pack up at the end of the day. It was a simple routine that anyone could follow; a cycle dyed in monochrome and red. I had no worries or hassles. I was content with my peaceful, tricolored world that sheltered me from the anomalies of life.

But one day, a new addition interrupted this cycle and dyed my world blue.

For the past month, someone had been placing random books in my desk. Every morning I’d walk to my desk and find a book stuffed in my desk. From there, I’d pick it up, search for its owner to no avail, skim it, then place it back on the shelf. The books I found were all interesting, but I had my own books to read. As a responsible reader, I was shocked that someone would abandon a book in another person’s desk rather than return it to its rightful home. This new addition to my daily routine continued for a month until I got fed up. My desk was not an orphanage for books, and what kind of person leaves their stuff in a random desk?! I was determined to catch the culprit and tell them to put back the book themselves.

Since these orphans appeared in my desk every morning, I assumed that the criminal stuffed them after school. Once I formulated my theory and asked around for any witnesses, I finally narrowed it down to one suspect. It was just a matter of catching her in the act. To catch the criminal, I stayed after school later than I usually did and hid among my fellow second graders. Hiding in plain sight, I eyed my suspect walking towards the general direction of my desk. Once she slid the book into my desk, I pounced and caught the criminal red handed.

Abbie was… quite the character to say the least. She was smart enough to skip a grade, an avid reader, and ridiculously hyper. Although I caught her in the act, Abbie always denied the crime, giving excuses like any child would. Though afterwards, I no longer found random books in my desk.

After the incident, we happened to talk frequently. Rather than just shoving a book in my desk, she’d come up to me and recommend it. Surprisingly, we happened to have similar tastes, which was pretty cool. And out of all that mess, I somehow managed to make a wonderful friend.

Abbie introduced me to Tolkien and the fantasy genre in fifth grade. Unlike her, I wasn’t converted into a Tolkien fanatic. However, she successfully brought me into another fandom. It was a Japanese webcomic about personified nations. At night, I’d go online and research info about the actual country and in the morning, we’d discuss the differences between the characters and the place they’re based off of. It got to a point in which Abbie would write the fanfiction while I’d draw the fan art. I got so into the series that I bought all the hard copies of the English translation (all of which can be found in my dorm.) Inspired by that series, I decided to create my own story based on personifying the periodic table of elements. Though there wasn’t really a plot, I enjoyed creating my own characters. One day, our friends asked us if we wanted to join a project they were working on. They wanted to write a story about espionage in which we’d write a chapter from each character’s perspective. We eagerly agreed to write for them, though we never finished it as usual.

Time stands still for no one, and we eventually went our separate ways. Though people come and go, we still carry the lessons they taught us. And so I kept creating. Those memories are a reminder of how impactful a friend can be. To think that if I hadn’t found those books, I wouldn’t have seen this world in color. If I hadn’t made a friend, I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am today. That is the end of this story, and so I closed the cover of the blue book she gave to me that day in second grade.

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