Aemon was my best friend in junior school, in fact he was my first “best friend”. We used to sit together at school. We managed to jab each other in the eye with a pencil multiple times. We managed to get slapped hard for playing during class.
I got to know Alliser because he was the son of one of the mothers in my mother’s group of friends who waited outside school for us (when we were young). He was a creative genius from his childhood. He sang, he painted, he even sewed. He was very sophisticated. We used to have picnics every year, the mothers and the sons/daughters. I would wear whatever my mother told me to, such as a red sweater, with the collars of my yellow shirt peeking out from underneath. He would wear a blazer, with a tie.
In the ninth class, the three of us became close friends and remained so for two years. We shared five coaching classes – two Maths classes, Physical Science, English and our native tongue. Yes, we needed coaching for that too. Aemon was usually the one who sat in the middle, while Alliser and I fought for the edge seats. Whoever won got to sit on the outer edge and have a chance to flirt with the girl on the edge seat of the other bench in the row. The other one would get the window seat. There was another reason for Aemon to sit in the middle. He was the one who studied. We who chose to rely on our wits needed him during tests.
Aemon and I played calculator, a game played with fingers and addition modulo five. He and I were the best and it would always end in a draw. Alliser and I were wing men. I needed his style. He needed my attitude (and all the free comedy).
Alliser was supposed to go abroad. He wanted a dual major in music and engineering. He could have got it. But he only applied at Princeton. He is now in a local college. But he’s still interested in both.
Aemon would have made a good engineer at a good college. And the three of us would have made a good team. Our reunions would have been good. Alas, he never got the opportunity to go to college. He passed away four years ago three days before our school farewell. This is for him.