She notices him swinging by himself on the empty playground. Most of the other kids have gone home to eat and she’s supposed to be leaving too but he looks sad. She walks over and sits on the swing next to him, watching him watch his dirty chucks kick through the air.
"Hi, I’m Rose. I haven’t seen you here before."
“‘M John,” he mumbles. “I just moved here.” He slows to a stop and looks at her, brown eyes peeking out from under overly long brown hair. “I’m lonely. Will you be my friend?”
"Yeah, that’s why I came over here." Rose answered with a smile.
They kept to that agreement of being friends for years with the tenacity that children have. They were friends through John deciding that his name was boring and since he was going to be a doctor, that she should call him that instead. They were friends through bruises appearing on Rose’s arms from one of her mum’s boyfriends (he was gone the next day). They were friends through both of their first broken hearts and the terror that was the first year of high school.
Everyone expected them to be friends forever after seeing them attached at the hip since they were six. But high school is cruel and the kids are crueler. John and Rose were walking different paths as Rose struggled with some of the class material and refused to let John, who was top of the class, help her. Before long there were rumors that the only reason Rose was even passing was because she was shagging John and in return for her “services,” he was doing her homework.