Second grade was peaceful and easy. In class, I’d read ahead, occasionally raise my hand for the sake of participation, and finish my assignments early so I could pull out a book to read or doodle in the margins of my notebook. By the end of the day, I’d simply pack up my stuff and wait for my mom or carpool to pick me up. It was a simple routine that anyone could follow.
When I’d get back to school the next day, I’d unpack my things and talk to my fellow 2nd graders before class started. As I was unpacking my things, I noticed something that didn’t belong. There was a small paperback book stuffed in my desk. How odd. I asked around if it was anyone’s book, but I could not find its owner. It did look interesting though, and so I skimmed it a bit and placed it back on the shelf. After all, I had my own books that I was reading.
The same incident happened the next day, and thus once more, I asked around, found no owner, skimmed the book quickly, then placed it back on the shelf. This new routine went on for about a month until I got fed up. What kind of person abandons their books in another person’s desk?! I was determined to catch the culprit and tell them to put back the book themself. 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.
Abbie was a very energetic and smart girl, skipping 1st grade and coming into my class. She was also an avid reader and cheeky little person. When I inquired her about the abandoned books, she’d always deny being the previous reader, but tell me about how it was a decent book. Abbie also happened to leave school after I did, which would give her the perfect opportunity to slip a book in my desk. I confirmed this theory by staying at school later than usual and hiding as best as possible amongst my fellow classmates. Once she slid the book into my desk, I pounced and caught the criminal red handed.
Abbie never really gave a great excuse as to why she stuffed books in my desk, but stopped placing them there nonetheless. After the incident though, we happened to talk more often. Rather than just shoving a book in my desk hoping for me to read it, she’d recommend it to me in person. Surprisingly, we happened to have similar tastes. Abbie introduced me to the Lord of the Rings series and other books in the fantasy genre. During middle school, we obsessed over a certain web manga about nations. At night, I’d read up about the actual countries and in the morning, Abbie and I would discuss the differences at length. When writing short stories in class, I’d include plenty of fantasy elements as well as drawings to go alongside them. I eventually tried to create my own story about personified elements, but instead of writing it down, I drew it. I created characters based on facts and properties, but I didn’t know how to string them together. After months of trying to piece together a coherent plot, I gave up after realizing that I preferred drawing characters rather than writing an actual story.
Abbie introduced me to many novels and narratives that have influenced my reading tastes as well as my writing style. Without her, I wouldn’t have discovered the beauty of Japanese film and manga or Yuumei’s scenic web comic, Fisheye Placebo. It’s through her that I found literary mediums and genres I enjoy reading to this day.