The 26 Fractured Prayers | Teen Ink

The 26 Fractured Prayers

October 21, 2022
By JustinHammond GOLD, Wilimington, Delaware
JustinHammond GOLD, Wilimington, Delaware
11 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.” - Christopher Reeve

Embedded across my chest-G, with familiar colors surrounded by Green, Yellow and white. Just above it, in color, with iconic and infamous beginning and ending letters is Packers. 

Engraved on my body formed through a hoodie. Light gray at that, and directly inside is fuzzy fabric. Blanketing me, and same follows for the pockets which hung below. When I’d sometimes stretch my arms to make myself feel like Aaron Rodgers.

Why did the Niners have to be so doggone good this season? I asked the question as I met my slightly leaking greasy hamburger, awaiting me on a red hard plastic tray. 
Not a response was heard!

Reoccurring thoughts bought wishings. Wishing that the reason went a separate way besides reality. But no, it didn’t….. The Forty Niners’ve gotta be the best in NFC! I threw the annoyance away. 

“Lucas.” Called my acquaintance, Laith, as I picked my head up again. 

“Lucas.” Also called my brother, Antonio, but he was intercepted. 

Grinning and simply feeling altogether better of life. I headed in the direction of Laith. The cold hard red tiled plastic floors crunching. Beneath my soft comforting shoes. I heard the crunching and simply ignored it, and off it disappeared. From my memory……. 

I caught up to Laith, he was towering with gazing at me, “You wanted to ask me something?” 

I shake my head not remembering if I said I did. 

“I think the seven deadly sins? Specifically Pride?” I tilt my head. 

“Pride, huh? I ain’t gonna say I’m proud of the information I have, but, I am proud.” He beams. 

I laughed. 

“Yes, yes, very funny Laith.” Fernado walked up to us. 

I held my breath as he spoke to me, “Man, you pray this morning?” I nodded.  

And we walked to a table. Down in the center of the hall, which was nicely built and decorated with paintings and such decorations. 

I sat down, my back to the fireplace a few hundred feet away from me. 

“Antonio.” Tim held his tray in one hand and sat down on the other side of my brother. 

Having looked down and scooted my seat for my brother to sit next to me, I looked up at Tim’s blue hat on his head, with a black brim, with an iconic C engraved in red lettering. I recognised that iconic C to be the baseball team, Chicago Cubs. I made a satisfied face. 

I played as them a few years ago…… My thoughts were interrupted as Tim asked my brother. 

“AFC, NFC, who are you cheering for? On that note as well, who are you cheering for in the superbowl?” 

“Superbowl, ain’t till February. Little too early to decide.” Antonio said and I silently agreed. “I ain’t watching if Lucas isn’t.” Antonio turned to me, but I was thinking to myself and eating. 



A flying red tray came into my vision. 

“Fellas!” Fernando, threw down a couple of chips, “Are we going to pray?” 

“Good question, Fernando." The other guy in our cabin room asked. 

“Are we all deaf?” Fernando turns to his Doritos chips. 

“You might be, I might not be.” Tim peers around the table, grinning. 

I held myself from chuckling, but out it went! 

“Antonio’s little brother finds me funny.” 

“Lucas is trying to be nice.” Laith spoke up. 

Caught in the middle of the conversation, I reached for my chips. Awkwardly as the others in the retreat huddle in. Sitting next to each other and beginning a conversation. Afterwards we gave each other thanks and prayers. We signed with the father, the son, and the holy spirit. 


“Shakespeare sucks, Romeo and Juliet was hard.” Laith opens the conversation to him. 

Hearing one mention the name of my idol or the one I respect (I am a drama bird) in disrespect was a deadly sin of itself to me!

“I wonder how someone came up with–” Fernando is cut off. 

Tim, feeling free to speak up (taking up the time to speak-spoke), “When he's upstairs, he thought to himself, I’ll call below me, downstairs.” Extending one of his arms from his bag of chips and pointing right below him. 

We all laughed. As Laith coughed. 

“I’m pretty sure, that’s not how it went.” 

“Then you narrate the past.” Tim fed himself a chip. 

Before going into the bag for another and so on. 

“I can?” 

“Yes.” Tim grumbles. 

Turning back to his chips, he finished the bag. Almost burping, he turns to another bag. I also followed him into my bag of chips. Eating one and then offering one to my brother. 

“Gluttony is a sin.” My brother laughed, as he avoided my bag of chips, I offered. 

“Oh, am I sinning?” Tim got up, “Want another burger, Antonio?” 

“No.” My brother laughs

“Lucas, do you want another?” 

I shake my head. 

“Ok! I’ll just have it all to myself.” He walks away, “Look at me, sinning!” He turns to us all. 

We had a good laugh. 

“God will be mad.” Fernando said. 


“Oh-my-goodness!” Shouted a boy at a table a few from us. 

“Oh-my-goodness!” His seat-mate exclaimed. 

“What happened?” The heading of the retreat, Mrs Garcia said. 

The girls at the table also looked alarmed, and I looked up from my-quarter-till-finished -burger. 

Edging his way to where she sat and her husband, and where we sat. He looked at his phone. 

“Kobe Bryant died! In a helicopter crash!”  

“When?” Mrs Garcia asked. 

“Just now.” His eyes went up to his forehead, and his hair up into the air more, his jaw hanging. 


“That’s not it, his daughter, Gianna also was present during the crash.” 

“Gianna Bryant?!” Manny Garcia said, “Are you kidding?” 

“No one bit, Manny.” The boy kept his face. 

“Just now, you’re saying?” The other chaperone at the table said. 

“A few minutes ago, but yes.” 

“Where?” Both Garcia's asked. 

“Somewhere in Calabasas.” (Some place in California, I’ve lived in California for 16 ½ years.)

“That’s not too far from here.” Manny looks at his wife. 

“News is news, but I think that there was a video. Someone predicted Kobe Bryant’s death.”  

Grabbing the Chili cheese Fritos, for the other young chaperone, Samantha I walked with my now empty red plastic tray. Disposing of it, as I walked with my water or half-eaten bag of chips. Leaving the kitchen hall, I walked outside into the warming but calming yellow sun’s direct sunlight. Feeling it on me, only made me grateful to be alive! 

Now to give her the chips! Where is she? 

Trudging along the patio, nicely built and slightly cold beneath my feet. I didn’t find her and instead sat on a bench. Eating my half-a-bag-of-chips, as I was drinking my bottled water. Finishing both, I spotted the nearest trash can and dropped both items inside. Clapping my hands together, as I got the gunk off the palms of my hands. As I turned around to give the chips away. 

“Lucas, you wanna play duck duck goose?” Laith called my name, as he peered my way. 

Nodding, I abandoned the bag of chips. 

I wish I didn’t……

On the grass now, I realized that it was kinda wet, and ignored it. I treaded lightly towards a growing group of Duck Duck Goose. Even Manny Garcia was going to be playing the game! 

Yeah, Manny! I laughed to myself as I hurriedly raced over there. My lanyard of a name tag flapping around me. Like a cape. Realizing it, I pictured myself to be aligning to Superman. 

“Antonio, are you going to play?” I asked, as I sat down. 

“Whatever, sure.” My brother agreed and went to the side opposite of me. 

Feeling blue, but of course, enjoying his presence in the game. 

“Who wants to go first?” Manny Garcia asked. 

Someone raised their hand and got up. The game begins! 

Hopefully I ain’t picked!  

I was. 

Getting up, I quickly raced after my acquaintance Laith. But I lost. Now I was the goose. I looked around for my brother, and found him in the circle. Tapping everybody, then goosing my brother. I attempted to fly away. Finding his spot in the circle. Racing away from my brother. I came around to the edge of the hill, we played upon it. Picking up my speed and attempting to race away. I found myself at the edge and turning back around, when I slipped. Flying forward. I stretched my right arm right in front of me. Crumbling into the ground, I rolled over, as I reopened my eyes. 

The single most damning tsunami of pressure and discontent waved over my fifteen year old mind. 

Looking up, I saw my lanyard and my name looking at me. Spotting it, I felt a single wave of chills as I saw my wrist. Getting up, with aid from Manny Garcia, I began walking from the group, as my left hand held my right elbow. Holding up my messed-up-roadway-signs-of-a-right-wrist! 


Lanyard, now unclipping, slipped from around my neck as Manny Gracia helped me inside. Into the main room of activities. I still held my wrist, as I walked inside. To see the other chaperones. 

“What happened?!” Mrs Garcia noticed my wrist. 

“Lucas!” Called the other two chaperones. 

“He fell and uh- his wrist.” Explained Manny Garcia. 

“I’m going to call 911.” One chaperone said and the Garcia’s nodded. 

Having taken up a chance to be a big brother, Antonio came into view, as I sat down on a chair. Ice ordered and into my hand. 

“Antonio, do you wanna call your mom?” Mrs Garcia moved towards him. 

Breathless from sprinting, “Yes, I will.” Pulling out his phone, he dials. 

“Here’s ice.” A chaperone came back in with the ice. 

“Where should it go?” Manny Garcia asked me. 

“I motioned with my left arm, towards the bottom of my wrist, as I still clutched it. 

“Does the pain come from all over?” One chaperone asked me. 

I nodded my head. 

“Can you do it? Or should I do it?” 

Inhaling and still in disbelief, “Under my wrist.” 

“Lift it up, one……two…….three.” I grunted as I lifted my damned wrist. 

“Thank you Manny.” I grin. 

“No problem.” Then he turns around to aid my brother. 

Attempting to adjust my ice, I placed it from below my wrist, right where it was popping right out, popping out like it’s going to burst. 

But it thankfully didn’t! 

Whirling and screaming, I just clenched my teeth together, as the ice was placed. But knowing it’d help, I allowed it. From within the contact of the ice. I also attempted to move my fingers, but couldn’t. Just a little flinched was all that was allowed. Noticing it, I smiled, knowing I had some strength left. Promising myself not to cry, I didn’t feel the need to. I felt the need to be Hardy. 

“Lucas.” A Chaperone said, beginning to speak, “Words can go, right? Well, you’re very brave.” 

I nodded and looked up to the roof. But not even the roof, Through the roof. 

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