Today I saw someone who haunted me. A high school kid was walking between two ponds as I drove by, and the “give him a ride?” lightbulb flashed in my head, but I knew better. I drove on to the chorus concert and sat in the back.
Anyone can sing in the chorus. An eclectic collection of kids was the result. In the back tier of the portable stage, a kid in a red shirt stood. A crowd of parents sat, except his didn’t because they weren’t there. He was the kid who walked alone because he had memorized songs and showed up to sing them.
I couldn’t stop watching him because he looked like a character in a book that had already been written. It wanted to tear every bad page out before got there. It haunted me that he memorized every word to every song–that part of him cared and flickered bravely, so fragile, and no one was there to call it light.
Every time I go to my Grandma’s and Grandaddy’s, I knock, knowing they won’t hear and I have to call them on the phone and say “I’m outside.” Last time, I put flowers in a vase while I waited for someone to show up at the door. The new flowers replaced dead ones. They were orange and purple and needed to be seen.
I don’t want the kid in the red shirt’s song to die. He showed up on purpose, and I don’t blame him for every bad choice he might make, but I want to say, “don’t do it,” and for that to be enough. I watched his mouth open weirdly when he sang in front of a crowd, and I was happy he was seen. I was happy he knew the words.
Please keep singing.