Dear A. J. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By
To anyone who reads this letter, it is important that you understand its context. Over the summer our high school lost one of its own. Arthur J. McEachern, “A.J.”, died early one Monday morning in August while working at a construction site. At 17, his premature death left behind a shocked family and community.

Since his death, his classmates have been grieving as best they can. This is my best. This letter is to a friend whose life ended too soon.

Dear A.J.,

Your locker now lies empty in the senior corridor. Your friends walk through the hall and remember what it was like to see you smile. Anna embroidered your initials on the guys’ hats. She did a fine job. Friday night, your fellow soccer fanatics are dedicating their game to you. The football team wears a shamrock with your initials on their helmets. Maybe it brought them luck in their first game because they won, but I would rather think that you had something to do with it. I know you were watching. Some of your closest friends got tattoos with your initials. The rest of us are just trying to cope.

I found an old picture of you taken before the sophomore boat trip. Boy – were you cute. In the picture, several of your female classmates are crowded around you. You always knew how to attract a crowd. It was no wonder, you had such a gorgeous smile.

We are trying to decide how we, as a class, are going to memorialize you. Nothing seems to do your life justice.

We miss you. The senior class just is not the same since you left us. We will never forget you. But after the tears have all been shed, you will always continue to make us smile with the life you led. And even after death, you still have the girls’ hearts. I know you took a piece of mine that summer morning.

May God allow you to rest in peace. You will forever live on in our hearts.

Sincerely, your friend,
Kelly Murphy

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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