I don’t know if i believe in God, but James did. My best
friend, James, believed with all his heart. He had to believe in
something in order to survive. If God is really up there and is
watching over everyone then he works in mysterious ways. God
recognized the dark bruises that clouded James’s gentle face and
sent angels to carry him away.
James was always a quiet boy and many people never noticed
him, but I did. He was extremely intellectually advanced for his
age and spent his free time reading the works of Shakespeare, Poe,
and on occasion Emily Dickinson. Eventually we began to talk about
his choices for reading because they mirrored mine so closely.
We grew really close over a short period of time and we
began to date. We joined the track team together, and that’s when I
started noticing that something was terribly wrong. Bruises covered
his body, mostly on his arms and back. In the beginning he just
shrugged off my concerns. He would just smile at me and say that he
was clumsy or some form of that same old excuse, but the more I
asked the faster his smile began to fade. The bruises were always
there, changing and shifting positions but always haunting him.
One day James didn’t come to school and i got extremely
nervous. He had never missed a day of school, not one, during the
entire time that I had known him. The next day was another no show.
On the third day, however, he appeared and in the worst condition
that i had ever seen him. His left eye was black and pink and
swollen shut, and a blue cast engulfed his right arm. That day he
didn’t talk much, not even to me, but even in his condition he
insisted on attending track practice. At practice i cornered him
and demanded to know what was going on. He didn’t try to cover it
up with any excuses this time. Instead he looked me straight in the
eye and admitted that his dad gets mad sometimes when he is drunk
and hits him. Shock pulsed through my veins hand in hand with the
unfathomable pain. His eyes clouded over with tears. That was the
first time I had ever seen him cry.
I held him in hopes that my arms would kill the pain, kill
the sorrow, kill the shame, kill the memories. I promised to
protect him in any way I could, but that night after practice my
parents told me they were going to divorce and that I would have to
move to a new school. I tried to plead with them saying that my lif
was here and my friends and my love is here.They looked at me
sympathetically but they said that i couldn’t be in love because i
was too young. I remember thinking that they obviously didn’t know
what love was.
I can’t ever remember crying more than I did that night. My
world fell apart in one foul swoop, in one unfortunate day. We
moved very quickly after that night, but I kept in contact with
James. He called me everyday and we saw eachother on weekends, and
things were looking up. As if the light really did shine at the end
of the tunnel, but then the calls stopped and coming and the
meetings ended without warning. I couldn’t understand why. I went
to a friend’s house on a friday night and i got my answers from my
friend Adam, a boy from my friend’s youth group who went to school
with James. We were sitting in the garage as the rain beat down on
the tin roof when I mentioned James’s name. Adam looked puzzled
that I know who he was.
“James Johnson?” He asked me in a quiet tone. I nodded
slowly, “you know he committed suicide two weeks ago dont you?” The
pain in that moment became unbearable as the realization of his
words hit me like a freight train. I hadn’t known because no one
told me, and I had missed the funeral. Flashbacks of times we spent
together came floating into my mind, all the novel discussions, the
track meets, and the love. He was the first boy that came into my
life that could directly affect the gravity around me, and I don’t
know if that means we really were in love all I know is that he
knew me for who I was not how everyone saw me.
I’d like to think that James is still with me every day,
but I don’t know if he is. I don’t know if I believe in god, but I
continue to pray. I look out for the kids that are a victim of
violence and I have written a few essays on the matter. I want to
make sure that everytime I talk to someone that they know how much
they mean to me, because it’s never set in stone how long they will
be with us. Tomorrow isn’t promised today, and you never know when
the angels will be sent to carry you away.