Before Helen left for private school I didn’t know private school existed. Her family was intellectual. They lived in a little house with 5 or 6 kids and they’d all watch 60 Minutes together. My other friends’ families always had wrestling on, or Black Hawk Down at full volume. Helen was different. For example, red was her favorite color. Before Helen I didn’t even know that was an option. I’d always chosen a safe shade of blue, to blend in.
For some reason, Helen liked me. I think she thought I was funny. I’d bring my fake newspapers to school and show them to her. She’d bring them home for her little sister, who loved them. I invited her over to be in my movies, and she came, and it was silly. She was smarter than everyone and transcended popularity and unpopularity.
Last year I added Helen on Facebook. She still makes me feel kind of like a little girl. I find myself hoping she’d like me, that I could make her laugh. She married her college sweetheart. She goes to business school. She isn’t very good at the internet, but that probably just means she’s good at life. I wonder if her favorite color is still red. The internet doesn’t tell you that sort of thing.