Moe Betta Blues

Before I jump into my elementary school years, allow me to flesh out my preschool ones a bit more. Looking back, there are a number of things apparent in my self today that originated in my earliest school days.

The kid in the last post I mentioned, the one whose mom asked my mom to get me to teach him how to tie his shoes (whew), that kid’s name was Brian. In addition to not knowing how to tie his shoes, he was also my very first bf ever in life. We were together all the time: we sat next to each other during reading time, ate across from each other at lunch*, played with each other at recess, we even laid our mats near each other for nap times. So presh.

Since Brian was a year older than me, he aged out of preschool before I did. The year Brian left, the homie Moe enrolled.

When Moe first showed up, all the little kids were intrigued. He never said a word, but had the most fabulous, luxurious hair: a massive, jet black, curly explosion. Love! It wasn’t until a few weeks after his arrival that he started to stand out in a different, more unsettling way.

For one, he never spoke. At first we all thought it was because he was new, but even after knowing him for most of that year, I don’t recall Moe ever saying a word to anyone. He wasn’t deaf; the teacher and teacher’s aid would ask him if he could hear them and he’d always nod yes. He wasn’t mute either; after befriending him (ok, I made him my unofficial 2nd bf after the void Brian left behind), he’d whisper things to me, but only me.

Another thing, he was scared of almost everyone outside of his mom, especially men. During his first few weeks at our preschool, he’d burst into tears whenever we went to the nearby kiddie gym (male instructor) or the male janitor came by our classroom. Before he started whispering to me, whenever somebody asked him something he’d just sit or stand there with tears welling up in his eyes. I felt so bad for Moe, I asked the teacher what I could do to help him. She said that was very nice of me, and the best thing I could do for Moe was to be his friend. So I was.

From then on, Moe took Brian’s former spot in my little four-year-old life, minus the mock misogyny. Since Moe rarely said anything, I got to say all I wanted, all the time. It was pretty awesome. Fun fact: before Moe arrived, I was the quietest kid in the classroom. At first, people thought I was deaf and mute, too. In reality, I found most of the other children stupid and not worth speaking to, lol.

But Moe was worth my words. I’d help him out during our writing/penmanship time, and read books to him from our classroom kiddie library. Brian would never sit still long enough for me read to him, ugh. Eventually, Moe and I were having our own Top Secret Very Important Convos in the sandbox during recess. The adults around us could hardly believe it.

By the end of that school year, not only was Moe speaking actual words (only to specific people though, and so quietly you had to lean in to hear him), he wasn’t as scared of the gym teacher or janitor anymore. He was even smiling, and often. When he first came to school, all he did was cry.


Our teacher and teacher’s aid were so impressed they told my mom and Moe’s mom about our friendship and his transformation. Moe’s mom thanked me personally one day, with tears in her own eyes. She said Moe really needed a friend like me.

There are more preschool stories I can recall, memories of me laying down the foundation of my gangsta. The ones I’ve already told you stand out the most, though.

In any case, those preschool years were the perfect training ground for what came next: elementary school.

* Brian would tell any and everybody how much he hated girls and how gross we were, yet he always gave me—and only me—half of his snacks at lunchtime, unprompted. His mom also gave me a stuffed animal, plastic jewelry and some other trinkets on my birthday for teaching him how to tie his shoes. Respect. Thanks Brian's mom! [back to para. 1/para.2]
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