Sunday, November 29, 2009

19 years

Today is always a little sad, and a little strange now that I am grown.

19 years ago, I was a 13 year old girl in junior high. One of my friends from the orchestra/band was 14--so of course he was cooler than I was--Ryan had good grades, came from a divorced home, had a brother in high school, was intelligent, nice to anyone and everyone, and always had a smile.

But 19 years ago, during band practice he asked for a bathroom pass. Of course, Ms. C, his favorite teacher, granted it. Ryan had never, would never, mess around or dawdle.

Nobody expected that he wouldn't return, the sound of a single gunshot, our science teacher running into the bathroom, coming out with his hands covered in blood.

Ryan has been gone for 19 years, a period of time longer than his entire lifespan of 14 years. It is strange, sad somehow, that at the time he was cool, like a big brother of sorts, someone to look up to. Now, as a grown woman, a parent of an 8 year old son and a 7 year old daughter, I am sad for Ryan, the little boy who never had a chance, the young man who never had a chance to grow to his full potential, who never got to know that whatever it was that drove him to take his life, there was a way out somehow.

No matter how long he has been gone, Ryan is forever a 14 year old boy, ready to offer a kind word and a smile to anyone in need.

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