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Every day after school

He would be the first one through the doors

Of the Boys And Girls Club

And he was usually dancing his way through

With sunglasses on

And Justin Bieber

Blasting through his headphones

‘Hey baby,’ he’d pull down his glasses

Wink at the women staff

And maybe hit them with a Michael Jackson spin move

Then he would see me,


Would echo through the games room of the club

We’d do our ‘secret’ handshake

And I’d ask him how his day was

75% of the time

Andrew was ‘heartbroken’ over a woman

I’d try to cheer him up

Tell him his fit looked fly today

And that there are plenty of fish in the sea

He’d look at his feet and respond with,

‘Thanks homie…’

Then he’d usually grab a pool stick and say,

‘You want to play??’

‘Of course, dude. Let's do it. I’ve already racked the balls.’

He was a freshman in High School when I met him

And we played pool five times a week

For four years

I beat him most days

But some days

He beat me

And he would gloat about it for the rest of the day whenever he did

Even though

Andrew has down syndrome

I never once took it easy on him

And almost all of our games

Were pretty competitive

He would dance and sing as we played

‘Baby. Baby. Baby, Ohhhh.’

He’d sing the most annoying Justin Bieber song

Over and over again

He was always ‘falling in love’ with the adult female staff at the club

And when they’d tell him that he was being inappropriate

He’d crawl under the pool table

Lay down in the fetal position

And pretend to cry

Sometimes it would take awhile

But we’d always get him out from under the table

And then I would take him upstairs to play basketball

Andrew was pretty good at basketball

For being a teenager with down syndrome

He had a decent jump shot

But everytime we would play one on one

I’d smoke him

It wouldn’t even be competitive

He had his moments playing pool with me

But never during a basketball game

Basketball was in my bones

I could beat him with my left hand

He’d always leave the high school room

To come to the gym

To hangout with me

I always let him

There were times where I would accidentally hit him in the face with a dodgeball

And he’d cry in the corner

And really get upset

But I could usually get him to rejoin the game

Then I’d let him hit me in the face

And he’d laugh his outrageous laugh

And point at me,

“Ha! I got you Homie! I got you!’

Andrew was about as competitive as I was back then

He was always heartbroken

And he was stubborn

This is probably why

We became fast friends

I looked forward to seeing that kid every day

And now

He is an adult

And I’m curious

How he is doing out there

In that jungle

With the people who won’t treat him like a human being

And the kids that’ll stare at him

And call him strange…

I hope he is doing alright.


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