It was a warm spring night, and the stands were full. The air had dirt suspended like the tension would be. I was sitting with some friends and we were watching young men be valiant. Showing strength and courage, and braving death.
I didn’t see it happen. It was too quick and I wasn’t paying attention. But quickly, two hundred pairs of eyes focused on one place, the amount of undivided attention was threatening to tear a hole in space.
He was just laying there crushed, devastated.
We were just sitting there crushed and devastated.
He wasn’t moving.
I rolled it around in my mouth, explored the feeling and the taste of the words. The bitter words brought excitement. Like jumping off a cliff or graduating a class, I might move from the have-nots to the haves. It was thrilling and terrifying at the same time.
I might be able to say I saw someone die.
And I hoped that it wouldn’t be true. I willed him to get up, but at the same time excited that he might not.
He still wasn’t moving and the EMT was there.
Some how the waiting turned into boredom. It was all because he wasn’t really a person, he didn’t have a family who were going to be devastated with him gone. He didn’t have a future of any type, he was just a cut out piece of paper acting out a script in a play. Or we just thought to avoid facing our own mortality.
But he does. He has a family that loves him. He is the same age as me. He is a real person and I celebrate those facts.
I thank God that the man has his life and I thank God that I still can’t say that I watched a man die.