It’s already another bad summer.
If you live in my area and watch the news, you may know the story of two young men shot while driving and riding in a car. You may have seen that the passenger died. You may have seen the dead man’s father, eyes glassy with grief, looking into the camera and saying that no father should have to feel this. No father ever.
There was a candlelight vigil the day after the shooting where I stood on the sidewalk in front of the house where the man died. The last thing I said to him was that I loved him. Last May on his brother’s birthday, I went on social media and told them I loved them both.
The last time I saw the man who died was on his high school graduation day. He was my Advisory son and my AP English student during his senior year of high school. We shook hands most mornings and my hand disappeared in his. He was an excellent writer and student and athlete. He was tall and strong, in all ways a powerful person.
I’ll be voting for you or working for you some day, I said when the man who died was my student. I know I said this because I say this to all of my students.
I stood on the sidewalk on the outskirts of the crowd of people who were his family and his friends.
I stood on the sidewalk and my candle kept going out as the sun went down. A few of his other teachers stood there too. Here’s what happened. The man’s father turned the crowd’s attention to the teachers standing on the outskirts and asked everyone to clap for us in gratitude.
I accepted the father’s gift even though it felt wrong because I was the one who should have been thanking him for sharing his son with me but how do I pay him back now? I thought I was going to someday vote for or work for the man who died. He was a piece of my heart and I loved him.
I’m sick of talking about your goddamn guns. I want my student back.