Evan loved life, and he loved us. He took special interest in everything. He made no enemies, because he could always find something nice to say about all of us. There were times when he would hunger for someone to say something nice about him, and it was at those times that I found it hard to separate him from my leg.
Evan not only needed to love, but he needed to be loved. Above all, to know that he was loved. It did not, however, dim his enthusiasm for someone to brush him off. If anything, it served only to make him try harder to love that person.
As free and open as he was with his love, and belongings, no one in our class ever (to my knowledge) took advantage of him. It was as if they recognized his innocence and wanted to protect it.
"Hey, Frankie. You know what?"
"What, Evan? Why do you always say 'You know what'?"
"Because I'm asking you something. People say that when they ask a question. Don't they say that, Frankie?"
"I guess so, Evan. What'd you want?"
"I love you, Frankie."
"I love you too, Evan, but you didn't ask me anything."
"Well, that's okay, isn't it?"
As Frankie stands there looking totally confused, Evan Mark Pickler Jr. grins as he hugs Friankie tight, turns and skips off. Our Evan.