In September of 2004 I began the 8th grade which meant that I started high school. Mitchi started it with me, although he was going into the tenth grade. The two of us had spent all summer talking about how terrifying high school was going to be, so when the first day finally hit we spent about ten minutes pacing the fancy private school deciding which one of us should walk through the door first. In the end Mitchi lost, so I followed him inside, clinging onto his backpack. “It’s easier for you at least! Everyone else in your grade is new,” Mitchi muttered miserably as we went into the auditorium for orientation. “At least we know each other,” I pointed out, and Mitchi nodded in agreement.
The first day was very upsetting; there were 60 different homerooms that were called “TAGS” that you stayed in until you graduated. I was in TAG 54, and Mitchi was in TAG 37. I have no idea why we thought we were going to be in TAG together, but we were quite distraught when we found out that we weren’t. The day ended at 12 once we had got our time table, and then we met outside. “Thank God that’s over, I’m going back to homeschooling,” Mitchi said gratefully. “You CANNOT leave me here, there are so many people, you’re the only person I saw that I know, I couldn’t find anyone else!” I said panicking. “Fifteen hundred students, two gigantic buildings I cannot spend the next three years of my life here,” said Mitchi. “Three! I have five shut up,” I said to him.
After a while though high school wasn’t so bad, I did manage to find my friends from elementary school, and I made new friends quickly. So did Mitchi, the arts program at that school was world renown, and the choreographer said Mitchi was the best dancer the school had seen in the last twenty years. He also made friends fast, much faster than me. Soon, not surprising to me at all, he was the most popular kid in school. Everyone wanted to be his friend if they weren’t already, and he was always surrounded by a group of giggling girls. He did however; always make time for his best friend. Plus I still saw him every weekend, usually because now that he was around other people his age his partying was completely out of control, so he would text me whenever he was coming home from whatever party it was that he was at if I wasn’t with him and then crawl into bed with me, if I was with him he would go even more crazy because he knew I would just carry him home.
My saving grace throughout all of this was Priya, she was in Mitchi’s grade and they had met in Japanese class. If he was king of the school, then Priya definitely was queen. Her Father was one of the richest people in Victoria, and she threw the most amazing parties, she was also drop dead gorgeous, she was part African, part Indian, and was about 5’8. There was more to Priya than just looks and money of course, she was hilarious, and taught me a lot about spirituality. She didn’t get as fucked up as Mitchi did, but unlike me he would sometimes listen to her when she told him to stop. I was crazy about Priya, as was Mitchi.
One afternoon in November Mitchi and I were hanging out after school like we did every afternoon when I suddenly had this strong urge to visit Alex’s benches. I told Mitchi, and he strangely agreed. I knew he went to the benches by himself, but it was rare for us to ever go together. “You know it’s so weird, I was just about to ask you if you wanted to go there too,” said Mitchi giving me a funny look. Although it had been over three years since I had lost my best friend, I still missed her every day, and I was delighted Mitchi and I were going to do something to honour her together for the first time pretty much since her memorial in 2002. It was quite a ways walk from my high school to my old elementary school, but we managed to get there in about twenty minutes. Right when we sat on the bench I looked at my phone. 3:45 on the dot. “We should go home soon,” said Mitchi. “I know, one more minute though,” I said and leaned my head on his arm. “Do you miss her?” I asked him,and for once he answered honestly. “There isn’t a minute that goes by that doesn’t hurt Chelsea,” he said.
When I got home a bit later that afternoon my Mom was prettymuch dancing. “What happened?” I asked her and she beamed. “Essy had her baby! A boy at 6:45 Montreal time! His name is Liam!” she said happily, “wait Mom-“ I started but was cut off. “She wants you and Mitchi to be the godparents! Isn’t that wonderful?” “Yeah but Mom what time did you say he was born?” I asked.“6:45 Montreal time!” she said again and showed me the email that she had printed off, as well as a picture of a baby that looked eerily like Alexis.“Holy crap, that’s 3:45 Victoria time,” I said, and then told her about how Mitchi and I had arrived at the bench at that exact time. “It’s a coincidence,”Mitchi said right away when I banged on his door to tell him. I could tell by his face however, that he was just as weirded out. I knew for the first time that for sure Alexis was still with me, and still with Mitchi. That made me want to be a better person, I loved Mitchi and all of my other friends but I didn’t have anyone outside of the party scene who I could rely on really. “Alex if you really are still there please send me someone,” I asked her out loud that night. It took a few months, but eventually she did.