For some reason, in the grocery store of all places, suddenly a vision came to me of the first of my former students to have died.
A car crash. Years ago.
A student who I once castigated for passing notes in class, of all things. A student who I don't think particularly liked me and who found a certain pleasure in making fun of me; once, raising her hand and in front of the whole class telling me that I had a booger.
A perfect student. Rebellious without being self-aggrandizing. Naturally prone to resisting authority. Unconsciously witty. Creative without realizing it.
I don't think she ever bothered doing homework. And I don't recall her passing any tests. But she could write. And she loved comics. And out of the many students I've had the honor to share a classroom with, she's one of the ones I remember most vividly.
In the years since, I've learned a lot just thinking about her as a student and what might have been. Or, maybe, what she had already achieved by the end of things.
And out of the blue this afternoon, I'm thinking about all of the people who are still able to remember her.