I entwined my earliest memories of Joshua with my lack of confidence. I am like the potted plant kept too long in a too-small pot and the roots are wound in on themselves. Joshua was the pot who kept me from flourishing.
It was fourth grade, and I was new to Bialik College. There seemed to be unwritten rules about how things were done. On this Monday morning, the teacher asked for those students who’d successfully completed the memory test from Friday to sit to the side.
The very idea of needing to memorise anything had stumped me. How did the others do it? I was certain there was no trick other than I was stupid. There was no other explanation.
So, as the students who had completed the memory test late on Friday moved to where the teacher had showed, I too moved across.
Joshua was the first to declare that I hadn’t done the test. Nearly every student backed up his claim.
The teacher quickly regained control of the class. With everyone silent, she said that I was to be trusted, and that I wouldn’t have moved across if I hadn’t had done the test.
Joshua resumed his protests. Only a lunchtime detention ceased his interjections. The resentment he felt towards me never faded, even if I failed to become his rival.