At almost this same time last year, on a Monday, I was sitting on the porch of my boyfriend-at-the-time. I was sitting on the cold, cement steps, in an oversized hoodie. His arm was round me and my hair was simply and carelessly pulled back. I had on little make up because most of it had been cried away earlier that morning. It was raining and dreary – appropriate weather for the most recent, tragic happenings.
The Friday before was a regular school day. I had survived my first hour class, Honors English, and had routinely sang through second-hour Chorale. Lunch was as boring and uninteresting as it usually was. I had, again, not brought anything to eat and had, again, half-intentionally, not brought money to buy food. My table consisted of a few girls and fewer guys, all of whom I currently or previously shared choir with, except for one girl, who I met during the musical of the last school year. Three guys and four girls at my table, usually.
Two of the girls were inseparable – they still are. They were both energetic and loved everything Disney and musicals. The girl I had met in the last school musical had red hair and played the piano. One guy had moved to America from Mexico before his sophomore year. I had met him the year before. Another was a boy I had gone to homecoming of freshman year “with.” Both were in Chorale. One boy was a freshman (who had come into the high school from the same middle school as I had attended), a bass in my choir, and the quietest one at the table. None of us really went out of our way to talk to him, but it wasn’t as if we ignored him or shunned him in any way. For the preceding couple weeks, he had offered to share a part of his lunch or had offered me a dollar or two. That Friday was no exception. He offered me some of his meal, consisting of a bag of chips, a carton of milk, and a burrito. Not particularly being a fan of any of those, I declined gratefully.
The rest of that day was normal and uneventful. Or, rather, I assume it was uneventful because I don’t particularly remember anything else happening that day, or even the next. On Sunday, the speaker at my church (which was half an hour away from my home) had commented on the death of two local boys that had died in a car crash. He named them and, at the time, it didn’t cause any bells to ring or any lit light bulbs to appear above my head. When I got home, I checked my Myspace (as I did religiously). When I looked in the bulletin space, I saw bulletin after bulletin entitled “Tim, we will miss you” and “Tim and Josh” and, finally, “RIP Tim and Josh.”
Still, no connections were made in my mind. I Googled the names of the boys and found some blurbs and articles. Nothing stuck out to me. That was until I found a picture of them. One face struck me: the pale skin, short hair, relatively large lips many shades darker and redder than the rest of his skin, the familiar posture. I couldn’t understand, Tim had just offered me his burrito two days ago and would, surely, be back to offer me more high school cafeteria food the next day. Was it really him and his older brother that had been the subject of all those Myspace bulletins?
That Monday confirmed my questions. First hour was fine. But, as I entered the choir room, I saw girls hunched over each other with tissues, eyes and noses matching shades of pink, foreheads wrinkled, their shoulders quickly rising and falling. Other girls were comforting them and guys where in their seats, their heads lowered, solemnly quiet. Once class started, I noticed a couple people hadn’t shown up. That class period was when it hit me: Tim was dead.
Class that day was everyone sitting around my choir director on the floor, talking about Tim, listening to a school counselor, and crying. Lunch was odd. I don’t think any one ate. The girls were crying and the guys were silent. When I got home, I just wanted to go talk to my boyfriend.To just be with him, at least. I was surprised when my mother agreed to drive me a half hour away for that.
We were sitting on his porch in the rain. I eventually just started feeling bad in general and ended up listing everything I thought was wrong with me or was an example of my dorkiness, excluding physical things. He sat there, responding by taking what I listed and shining a positive light on it. In really cute ways, he explained how my having blonde moments was endearing, or how being a bookworm added to my intellect, which is enticing. The conversation trickled to other topics.
I loved the cool air and the sound the rain made when it hit the metal roof of the porch and then slid off onto the concrete, into itself. My mother had told him to make sure I stayed dry before she left. Defiantly, I would walk out into the rain. He stayed on the dry porch, watching me. When I stood and looked at him, and he saw I wasn’t coming back on my own, he followed me, wrapped me in his arms and escorted me back under the roof.
The last two paragraphs were actually all I intended this entry to be. I never meant to write this much. But I felt like I should explain the rest. Hopefully, people will have enjoyed it just as much.
Something to smile about #1: Sitting on porch steps while it’s raining with some
one who doesn’t care what the weather’s like just as long as you’re with them.
Rest in peace, Tim, Josh. You have been, by no means, forgotten. Never will be. See you later.