Friday, September 03, 2004

End of summer heartbreak

Since starting kindergarten on Wednesday, E has been a little on-edge emotionally. I think it might be because she is heading for the first heartbreak of her life.

For the past two years, E has been attending a preschool in the neighborhood, and over those two years grew to become inseparable from her best friend A. A lives around the corner from us, so playdates are easy to arrange. She has older siblings, and has clearly learned telephone use from them; the two of them (E and A) will call each other and spend hours on the phone, playing games like "guess if I'm holding my hand high or low." They hugged each other when they first saw each other in the morning, and when they had to leave preschool every day. In fact, they used to kiss as well, but somehow societal norms got to them; not only do they no longer kiss each other, but E will deny that they ever did.

All summer E had been looking forward to attending kindergarten, because four kids she already knew from her preschool were also going to be going to the elementary school right around the corner from us, including A. But last week, we got a note that because of a sudden increase in students enrolling in kindergarten, the school had decided to create a second kindergarten classroom. And it turned out that A and E will be in different classes.

There is certainly no shortage of cruel people in this world, who break others' hearts for sport. And hearts get broken because complicated emotional histories can make friends and lovers act in hurtful ways for reasons that they don't even understand. But sometimes hearts can be broken simply because a chance event, a bureaucratic decision or job opportunity, separates people.

While E says that she is glad to be in Mrs. C's class instead of Mrs. K's, because A has already been given homework by Mrs. K, I can also hear the slight edge of jealously in her voice when she reports the other news from A, that A has made friends in Mrs. K's class. Of course, E has also made friends in Mrs. C's class. And A is coming over to play this afternoon. But will "best friend" status be able to survive a full year of going to school with other potential best friends? I'm not counting on it.

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