The first time I ever saw Natalie is almost like the beginning of a film. If you added embellishment, syrupy music, or sepia toned filters, it would feel just like a lifetime channel movie. I am promising myself and you to be honest, but this is how I remember it.
Natalie's Grandmother was the remedial reading teacher at my school. She had the distinction of teaching my brother and my sister to read. I was never in her class, but I knew who she was on sight. I went to a small school so you knew who everyone was and they knew who you were too. In first or second grade I saw a kid I didn't know with the remedial reading teacher. I thought she was a new student, but someone told me she was the teacher's granddaughter. I remember dark hair and dark eyes. Part of me remembers looking through a classroom window and seeing her alone on the swings of the playground. But part of me wonders if that is just a romantic notion that got stuck in my head at some point. Regardless, I do remember seeing her with her grandmother.
In third grade my classroom was right next to the remedial reading room and I remember hearing her grandmother talking about her granddaughter. I remember wondering about this nameless granddaughter for maybe half of a second and then moving on to thinking about my Barbie dolls or the next time I was getting French fries. In some ways, these early moments of awareness of her existence seem like fate. One day I was going to know this person and her impact on me would be life changing.