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The Boston Globe



The lesson of a friend’s suicide

Twenty years later, the loss of a schoolmate still affects the way I engage with others.

DAVID WAS A SCHOOL FRIEND. I met him in the sixth grade. He sat behind me in social studies and math class. I’d jab him with my pen whenever he’d try to pluck hairs from my head, and I’d roll my eyes whenever he’d block my view of the overhead projector to wave one of his “A” papers in front of my face. His arm was always up, hand fluttering; he was so eager to solve for x at the board.

David’s presence somehow anchored me as I mostly floated through high school. He was organized and smart, his oral presentations crisp. He’d never partner with me for group work, I think because I was such a procrastinator, for which he often teased me. Mostly apathetic in class, I was fascinated that David sat straight-backed, taking notes. He was so engaged, especially when it came to “Galloping Gertie.”

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