After we fell down the hill together, Brian ended up pulling up a chair to my friend's table in the cafeteria. Very much uninvited.
He even managed to seem completely oblivious to the hostile stares of everyone else around him, and demolished his breakfast. Uncomfortable silence didn't faze him a bit, and when he left he even threw a cheery, "See ya!" over his shoulder.
The next morning he was waiting outside my dorm. When I saw him, I just instinctively cringed, and then flipped him off with both hands.
I heard Mrs. Chang say from behind me, "If you don't have better things to do with your hands, I can find you a mop, Sal," I put my fingers down, at least until she turned her back, and then gave her a double helping, too.
Instead of beating me down with snowballs, he just walked alongside me, to breakfast.
That was how it started. With breakfast.
After that first day, it became routine. Brian was always waiting outside to walk me to breakfast.
At lunch time, he'd find me, and sit with me. Dinner, same.
It even got to where my friends and I would wait on him if he was late. We'd save him a seat at our table, and he became one of us. Little freshman Brian, sitting at the grown folks table.
Now, don't go thinking that he was all sweet and sensitive. He wasn't. He was a turd. An obnoxious, oblivious turd, and his retardery knew no bounds.
But he tried. He honestly tried, so we all kind of took him in, and tried to help him out.
He just kind of grew on me, and I wanted to see him do well. So, I'd just tie on his bib when he got messy, I'd remind him that his first two fingers were not a substitute for a spoon, and that telling a girl she had a camel toe never went anywhere good.
He eventually progressed from these little crayons of social etiquette to pencils, occasionally backsliding like any sinner. He graduated (although very slowly) from a booster seat to an actual chair.
Looking back, those are some of my best memories. Of Brian losing his training wheels.