This I Believe

Amanda - San Luis Obispo, California
Entered on February 9, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: children, death, love

The Love the World Can Give

I was twelve. I was ending my first year at a new school and hadn’t had an easy time adjusting. I had a pile of homework that night. The table I worked on was full of little nicks my little sister and I had made before we knew not to write on it. I couldn’t figure out how to do this math problem and had been working on it for some time. A few more minutes went by and I sighed in frustration. My mom came into the dining room where I was working. It was dark outside and dinner was almost ready. I thought that’s what she was coming to tell me, that it was time for dinner.

He was twelve. He had an older sister, a mother, a father, and a dog. He was just ending sixth grade and was the best foursquare player in the school. No one could beat him. We went on a field trip together in fifth grade to San Francisco. He was in my group. We had watch duty together from four to five in the morning on the ship my class was “sailing.” We had fun making faces and talking to each other across the ship. I admit, at the age of eleven, I was the victim of a slight crush

“I just got off the phone with his mom, sweetie, I’m sorry to tell you this, but he committed suicide yesterday.”

I was twelve. I didn’t understand. Even then, I had a different perspective on life than most people. I missed what it seemed everyone else had learned. Stress, depression, and hard times can drive people to do anything, even the unthinkable. How did I miss this lesson? How did he miss mine? My lesson, what I have learned to cherish most in life. He can’t smell the flowers anymore. He has missed the feel of the wind on his skin as he stands in the street watching a storm blow over the mountains. He can’t taste the rain falling onto his face, running in streams down to his lips. He can’t hear the laughter of his mom when he says something funny, or feel the love of his dog when he comes home. He is missing it all. He will never graduate from a university, or have a family. He will always be 12 and he will always be the best foursquare player in my fifth grade class.

I was twelve. I wish I could have taught him and shared my love of the little things with him. I would have laid bare my understanding of life’s gift and shown him the love the world can give. All he had to do was step outside his house, watch the sun set, hear a bird sing, taste the rain, and feel the grass beneath his feet to understand what I know to be true. I believe life is always worth living.