I was 7 years old. The quiet girl that sat at the back of the class, happy not to be noticed, but silently chuffed when she was. He was 7 and a half, wished to sit in the front row, but banished to the back, with the castaways, for bad behaviour. The boy just couldnt sit still, continually bored. He'd made a weapon with his eraser, when all was quiet, he'd ping it at your head, and stupidly, wasn't able to contain his glee. He would never make it to front row. Which was fine with me. I was the only one in the class, that didnt get that ping to the head. My proximity to his sling shot, sitting in the chair next to him, made it impossible for launch. The teacher was doing her best to confiscate the offending erasers, by cleaning out his desk, and checking his clenched hands before recess, but to no avail. The boy was industrious. He had pockets. Lots of them. Every head was a bulls eye, and nobody was safe. Except me.
Then the day came that would change everything. It happened during math class. I could see from his frustration, and frantic pocket searching, that is was over, and he was out. He'd run out of erasers, and it was, of all days, quiz day. He asked the boy in front of him, "Hey, Can I borrow your eraser?" Of course, the reply came in a united, chant from the class..."Dont give HIM an eraser! Dont do it!" The heads had rebelled, they'd seen their opportunity to squash their enemy, and took full advantage of it being a math day. The heads were safe from assault, and their enemy would fail the math quiz. They were delighted, and this time it was them who couldnt contain their glee. He was devastated. Crushed. The boy with no eraser.
He just looked at me, our eyes met, I saw the defeat in his eyes, as he searched his pockets in a panic over and over. I spoke to him. "You can borrow mine" Fear permiated through the room, as the class sucked in their breaths, and sheepishly turned back around, just waiting to be pinged off. They were going to get it, and they knew it. Eraser boy just looked at me, surprised at my offering. "Thanks" he said. He took the eraser, smiled, settled himself at his desk, put the eraser to the paper, and rubbed. Then he handed it back to me. "Thanks" I said.
Nobody got pinged that day, and the next day, eraser boy brought me a brand new pencil. Just for me. I walked to the front of the class, to the sharpener on the wall, and every eye in the class followed me. They all knew I had a brand new pencil, and they all knew if was from him. I blushed all day, and unusually,the rest of the class was quiet. My new pencil was on everyones mind. I looked at it lovingly, and wondered what it all meant. The rest of the class looked at it too, on the end of the pencil was an eraser. And it was attached.