il_340x270.474198208_pqkdIt was spring of 1985 when a pretty eight years old girl came into my life. I was in 4th grade. She was in 5th. For the first time in my life, I could not keep my eyes from looking at Nicole.

She was taller than me by two inches. She had wavey black hair with fair skin. She wore these cute black frame classes and had the sweetest smile I have ever seen. Somehow her eyes just sparkle when I look at her.

I would look towards her way when she is not paying attending and then quickly turn away pretending not looking at her when she looks my way. I did that for an entire month because I was too shy to talk to her.

It is hard to muster up courage to talk to a girl like Nicole.

“What do I say to her? What happens if she doesn’t want to talk to me? She can’t possibly want to talk to me because I am chubby,” and on and on with the afflictions in my mind.

At the time, I have only immigrated to the U.S. for about a year. I just barely learned how to speak English. I live with my dad while my mom is in Taiwan and I miss her terribly.

I didn’t particularly like school because I couldn’t get along with most kids. I am always in between fights and even my 4th grade teacher thought I was stupid.

Our teacher played trivial pursuit with us when we behave in class. I wasn’t able to participate for the most part because I didn’t understand the questions that the cards were asking and if I did kind of understand the question is, I couldn’t say the answers in English.

I remember specifically one day our teacher pulled out a card that none of the other kids could answer.

“What is the name for the constellation that points to the North Star?” said my teacher.

I raised my hand and said, “Big Bear.”

I learned a little bit about astronomy when I was in Taiwan and even though I did not understand the word “constellation”, I took a wild guess.

My teacher said, ”Allan is right. It’s the Big Dipper and also know as the Big Bear.”

“You see, he is not as stupid as you guys all think he is,” she followed.

When I was in Taiwan, I was getting straight As in every subject. In America, I was getting straight Fs. The only two subjects that I was getting straight As were Arts and Math, the universal language.

I felt alone. I was always in trouble with the teacher and she hated me. Oh, did she dread my presence.

For Nicole to be in my life at that moment was a blessing. She was the only thing that I look forward going to school everyday.

In certain ways, she was my Big Bear that guide me to happiness and through the hard times.

We never say much during the school days because we were both shy and I never got her phone number after she graduated.

From time to time, I wondered how is she doing in life. When I think of her, the song “If You Leave” from OMD always pops into my head.

She was one of my favorite memories from childhood.

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