“Mom, do you remember my friend, Dane?”
I looked across the empty dinner table at my fifteen year-old son, somewhat taken aback by his somber tone and matching expression. The ‘somber’ was what surprised me. We were in the middle of his younger siblings birthday party and there was a plateful of cake and melting ice cream sitting in front of him.
I thought over the question. Dane . . . that name sounded so familiar, but I couldn’t place it. I knew right off the bat that he was talking about a kid I had never met. I remember the ones that come over.
“My friend from Junior High, the one who got killed by his step-dad. Don’t you remember?”
I did remember. Now.
A lump formed in my throat thinking of the thirteen year-old autistic boy who used to share a band class with my son. The sweet young boy who used to sit right next to mine, who had asked my son to “keep” his mismatched drum sticks in his own backpack so he’d always have them when he got to class. The boy who my son had once described as, “a little weird,” but followed that up with, “Other kids pick on him, so I asked him to sit by me.” I remember the way my throat swelled–with pride that time– when he said that.
I think of the poor boys’ mother, how she doesn’t have her son anymore and ask God to keep her in His heart. To bless and comfort her. It’s only been two years and I forgot. But that woman . . . I can’t fathom the depth of her loss.
Then, I thank God for my own ignorance in this regard and feel horrible for it.
“I remember him.” I tell my son. “I remember.”
This bit of Flash ‘Fiction’ was inspired by an actual conversation that took place at my dinner table last Friday night.