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Leather Gloves

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The worst part of the whole ordeal? Watching Taylor die. He went from a ruddy-cheeked fifth grader to a dying cancer patient, bloated by chemotherapy and practically albino from too many days spent in a hospital room without the touch of sun. He used to love life -- he was very smart, excelling at Chess and sports, and had a ton of friends.

It took him from May to October to die, and the worst part was watching this whole process. We would visit him, try and cheer him up, try and pretend the wheelchair wasn't there and the hair wasn't shaved off. We would try to form an illusion of a healthy, happy Taylor who would get better soon. A Taylor with a head full of black hair, with two sturdy legs to stand on, and with no scar from brain surgery. But who were we fooling?

Towards the end this became impossible; I don't think he fully knew who we were by October.

We left our last visit with him filled with optimism. We could tell he knew who we were, he was awake for a little longer, his eyes looked a little brighter, his skin a little less ghostly. We were sadly mistaken. We were wrong. There was no happy ending, no miracle, no nothing. That is a figment of fairy tales and uplifting movies, not life. Miracles happen only in Hollywood studios, not at home.

At his funeral, we didn't want to sit still and lament what he had gone through, what his parents had gone through, and what we had gone through. Neither my brother nor I wanted the condolence cards that were given to us by relatives who kindly worried how we were coping with the loss of our friend. Thanks a bunch for reminding us! Now that we have a 2 buck Hallmark card to hold, we feel loads better! Gee whiz, it even has a picture of a vase of flowers! Comforting... I never could stand the sympathy, the shoulder-pats, the "its okay to cry if you need to" talks. This will always be a burden I must carry, but I'm not one for dwelling. I can't change reality.

Though we did try, for a while. My friend Daniel was probably closest to him. In the sort of effort a young child employs to stay connected, Daniel put one of Taylor's gloves in the casket, keeping the pair for himself. We all touched the glove at the funeral, childishly thinking that maybe some supernatural force would come into play and we could communicate with Taylor. Sometimes I still think about that glove, buried deep in a concrete vault in the ground at the cemetery, in an expenisve casket, beside Taylor's bones and decayed remains, and I wish that it's pair would connect us, just for a day, a conversation, some sort of time with Taylor. Those gloves were a beaken of hope for us all for so long, until one day we grew up, moved on, and accepted reality.




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