George arrived that November morning to our classroom, and the teacher introduced him as a new member of our first-grade class. All of us, curious six and seven years olds, welcomed our first ever transferred student. George said hi back, standing in the front of the class with our teacher, Mr. Blake, and still holding his mother’s hand. As she left, we all had to say “goodbye, Mrs. Morrison”, as she smiled and left.
George was quiet, he had round pink cheeks, was a little shorter than me, and also fuller. I wasn’t that skinny, but George was certainly heavier. Overall, he looked like a healthy kid, I guess we all did. But he was the new student, so everyone kind of looked at him, trying to figure him out, or expecting him to do something completely new, as if most of us had not just met a few months before, and if nothing else could be new.
During the first break we had, still indoors, he didn’t say much. He answered a couple of questions shortly. Where had he moved from, if he had siblings, if he had pets, if he liked sports, all of the questions we asked him. And we learned he didn’t have siblings, and didn’t have pets either. When he answered where he had moved from, someone close to me said something loud, and I couldn’t hear his answer.
During the second break, now outside, we all ran around and played. I stayed with the kids I knew better, because they sat close to me, and George tried to stay close to us. At some point, someone asked him if there was something he brought from home, and without a word he ran to his back pack and called us over. We ran, excited to see the mysterious object from another land, and we all got quiet, as if giving George silence to show us his secret.
George opened his backpack, and pulled out a silver candlestick. It was an odd object, especially for someone our age to have, and most of us didn’t know what it was. But, he explained it was a silver seashell candlestick, and you could only find them in his old town. We were just kids, but we could see in his eyes how much he missed his old home, how scared he must have been to meet new classmates, how sincere he was. So, we all celebrated his novelty, and he promised he would get one for each of us one day, and we believed him.
The last time I saw George we were ten years old, and he was a friend now. He was moving to a new town, and didn’t know if he was going to ever come back. He knew now his father travelled for work, so many future moves awaited him. As we said goodbye, he opened up his backpack and pulled out the candlestick, which I had not seen again since that first day we met him. He gave it to me, and smiled, we both knew he wasn’t going to need it anymore.