That’s how many different people I might see in the hallways in a year
But it’s the one I won’t see that makes a difference
I barely went to school with Dmitri
He was a junior when I was a freshman,
but by the middle of the year, he wasn’t in the school anymore
He was in the hospital instead.
You see, he’d been diagnosed with cancer
And here, all I’m thinking about is my best friend’s dead mom
And he loved Model UN. Loved it so much.
He wasn’t there with me when I joined since he was busy being sick
But his presence was still there
And then a year later, it wasn’t.
The seniors built a bench for him.
The teachers raised money for his family.
The basketball team fundraised for his cause.
And I wasn’t sure what to do to remember him.
Until I met Sasha.
He walked into the first day of Model UN
one of a few freshmen who seemed a little too small to be in high school
But when he spoke, we all listened.
And we realized that he was Dmitri’s little brother,
Here in the club that his dead big brother had loved so much.
And so three seniors who’d never really known Dmitri made a pact that we
The Somerville High School Model UN officers
Would do justice to the program for Sasha. For Dmitri.
We didn’t talk about it, but we all acknowledged it to each other that we might have
Teared up a little when he told us how much fun he’d had with us that year
Filmed on our phones during the conference awards, hoping he might have won
Cried while at the school newspaper seeing that he wrote about it for the whole school
Because how can you say it out loud?
You just know that you’ve done something right
Something for the kid who’s lost so much, and maybe for his brother too.