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Rock, Paper, Scissors
“So, Aytan.” I’m sitting in a beanbag chair, across from my newest....friend? Acquaintance? At the time I had absolutely no idea what my relationship with Aytan was going to be, and I’ll admit it: that scared me.
He looks at me. I study his face, every feature he has is a light brown, save his pale skin.
“Yeah?” He says, playing with his hands. I smile in spite of myself. His voice, just like my brothers, slides from high to low when he talks. “Um....what’s your favorite color?” I ask, already knowing his answer.
“Uhhhhh, green.” He replies. Right. His shirt, pants, and backpack are all varying shades of it. “Cool. I like blue.” He looks away, and I inwardly sigh.
I needed more information about him, what were his likes, dislikes, and most importantly: what were his special needs?
But, I wasn’t stupid enough to ask him that last one. And besides, after dwelling on it, I decided it didn’t matter. I’d work with what I got.
Aytan was one of four kids in my school’s special ed classroom. He andwo boys (Sean and Mason) and a girl (Shannon) spent their school days in a room slightly larger than a coat closet, ignored and invisible to the rest of the school.
That is, except for me. I had a brother with multiple special needs, and since I enjoyed hanging out with my brother, I figured volunteering in the special ed class would be fun. So far I was the first kid to do this, and had been pleased that the kids seemed to like me. Everything had been going great. That is, until now.
After getting short and to the point answers about every little basic question I could think of, I was stuck. At loss for any conversation starters, and getting desperate, I asked him if he knew how to play Rock, Paper, Scissors. He shook his head.
My heart soared. Finally, something I could do that he might actually like! I wasted no time showing him the ways to hold his hands.
I quickly realized that I couldn’t play Rock, Paper, Scissors in the normal way with Aytan. Whenever I did my move, he’d copy it, evidently not knowing what else he could do. I made slight alterations to the game. Each time we had to show our choices, I’d put mine behind my back. Aytan would put his in front, the normal way. I’d ask him, “Is this your final move?” When he nodded, I’d put my move out.
As the weeks progressed, Aytan was able to play the game the right way, and whenever we had the chance, he wanted to. We began to keep score, and time after time he would crush me (and I wasn’t trying to let him).
Before that day, I’d never realized how a simple hand game could start a friendship. But it did. Through Rock, Paper, Scissors I gained an awesome friend.
Life, is like Rock, Paper, Scissors. Aytan and the other kids do not attend my school anymore, due to the lack of space our school offered. I can’t put into words how much I miss them. Four people, four friends, that I will never see again. If you added all the time I’ve spent crying over it together, you’d have about five straight hours of tears.
I miss those days doing classroom work, and doing puzzles, and eating snack, and especially playing Rock, Paper, Scissors with Aytan. And it drives me crazy, that I can’t have that back again.
But, ever so slowly, my hurt is getting replaced with a faint smile. Because I can remember it all, laugh, and think to myself: “Wow, those were four great friends.” Because they are.
Rock, Paper, Scissors.