Sunday, September 28, 2008
Today, this boy would've turned 21. This is his birthday. Here, the Matron updates his story. She's corrected an error in the narrative below. More importantly, she has an addendum. (that would be at the end - get a tissue and read on)
April 14th: The Longer Journey
When the Matron confronts this hill on her daily 4 mile run, weariness overtakes her. Worse? See that slight bend ahead? This is what is on the other side:
More hill. Lots of this.
She lives in a neighborhood nestled high above the city, full of 100 year old houses with million dollar views. Did she say high above the city?
Very. Every day, the Matron follows the city park path that runs right along a river bluff.
Sometimes she feels sorry for herself and a just little bit whiney. Oh, about everything.
The job interview, the wrinkle that is not a flexible laugh line but a permanent entity, the economy, Stryker's disdain for hygiene, the weather, that stupid hill she must climb one more time, Satan's Familiar, Scarlett's inability to fold a sock or close a drawer, the way her husband wipes his mouth with the back of his hand instead of a napkin (only when eating cereal).
The Matron frets and whines and puffs but then she eventually goes down the same hill and sees this, every day:
This is where a boy the Matron does not know but read about in the newspaper fell off the cliff and onto the railroad tracks next to the river, hundreds and hundreds of feet below.
You can see, his name was Georgie.
Because the Matron's neighborhood is high above the city and boasts a spectacular view, he was here with thousands and thousands of other people to watch fireworks on the 4th of July.
Being a teenager and and immortal, he crossed the little wimpy one foot safety chain and got as close as he could.
His mother was standing behind him and got worried: "Be careful!"
He laughed: "I am not going to fall."
Mother: "Really! Step back!"
And being a teenager and immortal, and seeing the tiniest ledge below, he decided to play a little joke on his mother.
"I'm fine! See?"
He jumped. But missed the ledge.
This is what the Matron read in the paper, nearly five years ago.
But every day she runs past that wooden cross. Sometimes there are new flowers. Sometimes a rosary or poem.
Every day she runs past that wooden cross and thinks about that mother and that boy and those few seconds.
She stops whining, usually because she has to cry. Again.
Near the July 3rd anniversary of that child's death the cross was removed for several days. When it was replaced, there was a woman's name on the cross instead and a little card sat by the cross for about a week that read:
"Because a big part of me went with you. Love, Mom."
Friends, the Matron believes there's something bigger than each of us at work in this world. Please give a piece of yourself--a prayer, a good wish, a little love --to this mother today, on the day she gave birth to the boy she lost.