“So what’s your favorite memory of high school?”
“Graduation,” Jake muttered in reply.
“Oh, come on, you loved it here. Don’t be such an ass. Besides, graduation still hasn’t happened yet.”
“Yeah, well, graduation will be my favorite memory. I’m done, I’m ready to leave. I’ve checked out—completely.”
I looked at Jake with mild surprise. He was an enthusiastic member of student government at our school, had been a devoted track star for four years, took his academics seriously, and got along with both teachers and students alike. He was accepted into a renowned university and had a bright future ahead of him. He was, in short, a successful high school student—one who managed to not just survive, but thrive. And here he was, standing next to me, telling me that he had no fond memories of the past four years of his life.
“Fine,” I shrugged, humoring him. “What is your second favorite memory of high school? One that actually occurred already?” I hastily added, “And don’t come up with some smart-ass response. I’m legitimately curious,” when he rolled his eyes and began to speak.
Jake looked down at his feet for a moment before glancing back at me.
“You know I loved doing track, right?”
“Well, there’s just something about doing high jump—the rush of it. You know? Being in the air higher than you’ve ever been before and having the feeling of excitement and fear mixed with the thought of ‘what if I never come down?’”
Jake fiddled with the straps on his backpack after he finished.
I laughed softly. “Wow. That was…unexpectedly profound,” I teased.
“Fuck you man,” Jake smiled as he shoved me away.
I glanced up and noticed Nathan walking towards us from across the quad, with Mark following closely behind. I figured I’d pose the same question to them to see if they could be as surprisingly deep as Jake.