The first word that comes to mind when I think Michael is short. He’s just a shorty, and he’s accepted it, I’ve accepted it, and everyone else out there should as well.
No one calls him Michael, anyways, we all call him Mihe.
Mihe and I met at the 8th grade debate banquet when I ogled the older debaters, and he was just the younger brother of one of the sophomores. I think we made awkward small talk and I discovered that he was going to my school in the coming fall.
He also joined debate once he started high school with me, but we also had freshman year Old Testament Bible together. We sat next to each other every single day and bonded over our mutual Asian-ness and academic ambition (mine has certainly waned since then, his has certainly not).
In ninth grade, when we had gathered up a combined ounce of courage, we sang in front of a bunch of high school kids while his brother played piano at our school’s Open Mic; we had created a mashup of a bunch of popular songs from that year, the one I enjoyed the most being Jessie J’s “Price Tag”.
Aside from debate and that one class, we didn’t hang out outside of school, and his lack of attempt to do so made me upset. Over the years though, I’ve recognized my tendency to overreact about this sort of thing, grasping that friendships are a two-way relationship and it’s just as much my fault as it is his. :)
The foundation of our relationship changed when he stopped debating sometime in sophomore year. We got a little bit disconnected; life got in the way as it always seems to, but we still saw each other at school and talked a bit.
The internet sure is something, isn’t it? What a phenomenon, that two kids who don’t see each other in real life can stay connected through Gchat?
He’s told me his secrets and I’ve told him mine, and we talk about life after high school and interpersonal relationships, and despite his tendency to say “o” to pretty much anything I say and his immature text lingo, I look forward to talking to him.
Another layer to our complicated metaphorical onion of friendship emerged in junior year, when we started a service project together for North Korean human rights. I had no clue what we were doing and start-up projects are always tough to maintain when there’s no foundation for support, but I’m really proud of what we’ve managed to create.
Sometimes we talk purely logistics. We talk scheduling, contacting schools, writing emails, printing certificates, organizing events, but that’s quite alright.
When we graduate, our organization will hopefully live on! A simple, innocent project has turned into a huge time commitment to which I am honored to devote my efforts.
Back in December, we were both releasing breaths that we felt we’d been holding for years. We’d both gotten into our top choice schools and it felt fantastic to know a little bit more about what our future would look like. Ever since then, I think we’ve both been having the time of our lives.
Some see him as an overachiever, which might be true in some respects, but I know that whatever he is, he’s going places and he’s going to have worldly experiences.
It’s really something to see him properly relaxed, because despite all of the crap that I give him, he is one of the hardest-working and deserving people I know.