I remember you

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We put on brave faces; let the tears cover our cheeks. No one cares about the cliques today. We lean on each other; we hold each other’s hands. Today no one is alone; we stream across the grounds to meet at the flagpole. Everyone is here to remember you, to comfort each other, as we all wish we would have known to comfort you.

Most of us remember how you were in recent years, but I remember you differently. I remember you in summer, playing football in the backyards. I remember you biking over in the cool evening air when it was just growing dark. We used to play sardines and hide between the bushes. You always won the neighborhood games. On sticky afternoons we sat on my neighbor’s deck eating popsicles.

Do you remember the summer you had a crush on my baby sister? You came to our house and played karaoke in the basement to escape the August heat. Your little sister did a baton routine for us, showing off like little kids do. I babysat you that summer. Your parents trusted me to protect you, and I tried. Even though it was years ago, I wish I could have protected you still, saved you from this great big world. You were just a baby, Mark, even that morning. Just a baby with a head full of sorrow.

I remember. I remember eating in a friend’s kitchen with you. A glass fell from a freezer and cut your head. Mark, there was so much blood. Even in the last few months I could see the scar it left. When you pulled that trigger did you remember all that blood? I remember.

Today we remember you, and the friend who followed you. We stand around a flagpole, holding hands, some pray for you. The harsh winter has warmed; there is no storm to mark your passing. But this day we will always remember. The boy with yellow hair, the boy from summers ago. I remember Mark.





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