When I was younger, I became extremely close with someone in the after-school program I attended. K (that’s what we’re calling my friend) was a year older, but it felt as if we were the same age because we did everything together.

We became friends because—at the time—K was a new student, so I invited K to sit with me (that was a big deal back then). We became fast friends. We both loved art and hated sports (or at least hated playing sports). We spent our time together chatting and drawing pictures together. We alternated. One day, I drew something and K tried to copy or imitate what I drew, and another day I did the same for K’s drawing. We learned different skills from each other.

Then, one day, K walked in and sat at a separate table from me. I was confused because we always sat together, but didn’t say anything, as I wasn’t sure what to say (I was quite shy). Then, I saw K drawing something that I thought was incredibly interesting, so I tried to imitate the sketch. When K turned around, I was surprised to see K glaring.

I don’t remember exactly what K said, but it was along the lines of: “Stop copying me.”

At that point, I wasn’t sure what was going on. We always did that. Why was K suddenly angry at me?

Then, in walked someone from K’s grade. That person sat down next to K, and K’s glare turned into a smile. They started talking animatedly, and K showed the sketch to who I eventually figured out to be K’s new friend.

Then—to my complete and utter shock—K went to the gym to play sports. K never played sports. It was then that I realized that I had been replaced. As soon as K found friends K’s own age, we weren’t friends anymore. In a way, K had been using me. K was new, so K took advantage of a younger student. That younger student was me.

I never got an explanation from K, so I could be wrong. We just stopped talking.

I was invited to a small gathering, where my parents chatted with their friends and I had to spend time with their friends’ children, who happened to be K and one other person. We didn’t acknowledge our past friendship. We looked at each other, tried to make conversation, and ended up just separately talking to the other person.

People change. And sometimes, when you think you know someone, you find out you never really did.

Replacement

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