I was 8 and so was he. Sitting on the bus during a school trip looking out the window. Talking about 8-year-old things.
We started playing eye spy. Eye spy with my little eye. The one with the letters. I had a turn. He got it. He starts talking.
I spy with my little eye.
He's looking around. I'm trying to follow where his eyes are going. Up and down. Out the window. He starts talking again.
I spy with my little eye. Pauses.
I spy with my little eye something beginning with V.
I start thinking. Something beginning with V. I'm 8. I don't know anything beginning with V. I'm looking around. Out the window. Up and down. Where did he spy this thing beginning with V? Like I'm going to find it. My vocabulary has about 600 words. None with V.
You'd think Volvo. But I'm 8. I don't know what a Volvo is.
I'm thinking I can't let this guy get one on me. He's already smarter than me. But I don't want to admit it. We're both doing year 6 maths. I'm pretty good with numbers but he's better with words.
I start trying to make words up. But I can't. I don't know any beginning with V.
There's no violins here.
He can see me struggling. Keeps talking.
It's something you can feel as well.
I think. Look around. Something you can feel and see and begins with V. That's a trick. You can feel everything if you're close enough.
I keep looking around. Pretend to move on. Pretend to give up. But never admit it.
He knows I'm defeated. Speaks.
Yeah, look, the handle is vibrating, the water in the water bottle is moving back and forth with the bus. You can feel them and see them.
I'd never even heard this word. I thought I was smart. Not next to Allister. This kid is playing eye spy with the letter V.
He went on to be valedictorian of his school. Another V word. Top of the law school, straight into the high courts and to co-direct a musical.
I went on to be leader of the best video game team in Australia during high school, almost got kicked out of university and worked retail for 3 and a half years.
I ran into him today. He was in a Jiu Jitsu outfit. I told him I do Jiu Jitsu too.
I ask how've the last 10-years been? He speaks.
They've been great. I'm unemployed at the moment. Teaching piano lessons here and there. Training. Keeping it simple.
His undershirt had law society on it. I spoke.
What about law? That's what you were studying right?
Yeah, I got into it. Became an associate. And hated it. So I quit and decided to teach music.
That's when I knew he was a genius.