It all started in third grade…
Dovis McClement was my best friend. Now, that statement carries with it the assumption that one has several friends and that one among the many is favored above all the others. Dovis was not only my best friend, he was my only friend. He was my only friend because he was my friend. No one wanted to be friends with the friend of Dovis McClement. It was against the rules.
Dovis was an only child. I’ve heard it said that when he was born, his mother took one look at him and vowed never to risk creating another one. When they made Dovis, they broke the mold.
I’m not sure if it was his giant ears, or his lazy eye, or his enormous overbite. It may have been his tiny nose. Yes, tiny. Dovis McClement had what some may describe as a “snout”. And I really wish I could say that all that ugliness was evenly compensated by a clever wit or creative genius. Nope. He was as dumb as he was ugly. He had…issues. I tend to blame his father.
His father was just like all the other dad’s on our street, except Mr. McClement had an odd sense of humor. Here’s just one example: Mr. McClement would set poor Dovis on his knee and bop him up and down gently and sing “Old MacDonald”.
“Old MacDonald had a farm, E I E I O. And on that farm, he had a rabbit, E I E I O. With a _ _ here, and a _ _ there. Here a _, there a _, everywhere a _ _. Old MacDonald had a farm, E I E I O.”
No sounds. Old MacDonald had a rabbit, a giraffe, a llama, a three-toed sloth, an iguana, and an octopus. They never made a sound. It makes for a really weird song, which makes for a really weird kid. You might think that this was very cruel, but Dovis never got his feelings hurt. Until he met Sara Stone.
OK, Dovis never actually met Sara Stone, but he certainly saw Sara Stone. She was the most beautiful girl at Calvin Coolidge School. She moved to our town the summer before the third grade and Dovis fell for her quicker than an octopus can say _.
Sara Stone was beautiful. Sara Stone knew she was beautiful, too. Even worse, Sara Stone knew that Dovis knew that she was beautiful and she tormented him daily. She’d sachet around school, dropping her books on his feet so he’d pick them up and carry them for her. She’d sit with the other girls and wink at him when she caught Dovis looking, then she’d whisper to the others and they’d all giggle. Dovis was none the wiser.
Dovis carried her torch high until tenth grade. In the tenth grade, Dovis did what many other boys and girls often did—he learned to drive. And drove he did—right over to Sara Stone’s house and asked her for a date. And she accepted and they fell in love and lived happily ever after. On Mars.
I have often wished she had just slapped his face and slammed the door. He would have eventually gotten over that. Instead, she laughed at him. His big lip began to quiver and his crossed eyes watered and she laughed even harder.
“You are the most ridiculous looking thing I’ve ever seen! I’m sure you know there are rules about this? You’ve got to be kidding!” Then she slammed the door.
Dovis came back to the car where I was sitting and slammed the door and just sat there, staring ahead. I had never seen him act this way. Finally, silently, he drove me home.
The next day at school, everyone was very excited. Apparently Dovis had driven back to the Stone house; back through the Stone house. Sara’s bedroom. She was not there at the time, but the impact killed him.
Everyone was laughing about it.
“What is so funny?!” I screamed. “How can you possibly laugh about this?” Everyone suddenly became quiet and stared at me like I had just dropped my pants.
“Dovis is dead. Dead! All because he wanted to fit in. Because he wanted to be like anyone of you. Because he wanted to be wanted.” I sobbed, looking angrily at each stunned face.
“Of all the rules you all have broken, couldn’t you break that one rule just one time?”
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