My teacher tells me that every snowflake is special and individual like every little boy and girl, even little Alexander who sits in the corner and does not talk and sometimes cries. She says that Alexander is very sad. Once I tried to talk to him.
"Hi, I am Elijiah and would you like to play snowball fight?" I asked him.
He did not say anything. He is a small boy, with blue eyes and very light colored hair. Some of the other kids call him a "tow-head." I do not know what that means. I hope they are not making fun of him, because I think that Alexander is a very nice boy but just no one gets to know him.
In school, no one gets to know me, either. I think it is because sometimes I do not get A's on my spelling tests, and I wear glasses, and my jeans are a little short. Sometimes letters and numbers confuse me, but I like to tell stories. My teacher tells me that I have a very good imagination, and that I am a special little snowflake.
One time Alexander needed a pencil in class so I gave it to him. "It is my favorite kind," I said. My favorite kind is the kind that you click.
"Mine too," Alexander said.
Today I am sitting at my desk and I am doing my most favorite thing in the world: cutting out snowflakes from white computer paper. My teacher lets me, because sometimes when I go out to recess the fourth-graders take my glasses and once they broke and my mommy could not pay to get them fixed for two weeks and so I could not see.
Well, as I cut out snowflakes at lunch, I see that Alexander has also stayed in from recess. Normally he goes to the library.
I know he is shy, so I ask him, "Would you like to cut some snowflakes with me?"
He smiles a little bit. "Okay."
I hand him scissors and paper.
"First you fold it like this," I show him. He folds like me.
We cut snowflakes in quiet for a while, and then I say, "Would you like to be friends, Alexander?"
He stops his scissors. "Okay," he says.
"I don't have any friends in school."
"We should be best friends forever, so it doesn't matter that we don't have other friends," I tell him.
He smiles. "I would like to be best friends forever."
I hold up my hand and he looks at it, puzzled.
"What is that?" he asks.
"High five," I tell him. "Like this." I hit my two hands together, and hold up my left (the thumb and pointer finger form an L!) again. He hits it.
I cry at his funereal, in eleventh grade, and his father gives me the box that had "Elijiah" written on it simply.
Scattered across a page are words written by my best friend. Inside the box are a mechanical pencil and a pair of scissors, and some folded computer paper.
"Best friends forever," the page says. There are strategically placed holes in it, making it seem like a snowflake.
I close the small box.
I did not find out until seventh grade that the reason that my best friend forever was so skinny and pale and weak was that he had leukemia and that meant very, very sick.
We made other friends through middle and high school, but no friendship I ever formed equaled the loyalty and devotion of Alexander's and mine. I will only have one best friend forever, because all snowflakes are unique, special and individual, and I will never meet another Alexander.