The sense of dread was palpable to the reader as you (and we) had to wait until the game was completed. This kind of experience really does change your outlook on life. Nice tribute to your friends who never had the chance to become adults.
:-( So sad these things happen and the effect on those who live on. You did a great job of telling the story.
This piece made me nostalgic, not in the pleasant pop culture sense, but in the sorrow that comes from remembering a similar tragedy that happened at my own upstate NY school when I was in high school. I haven’t thought about it in many years. The old days weren’t always good.
It's strange how tiny things can trigger such strong memories almost at the drop of a hat. Nicely done.
This was exceptional and deeply touching, Justin. Thank you.
To lose three of your classmates, and especially Ben, was a huge, life-changing event for you, Justin.
So sorry for your loss back then, and grateful you turned to writing. It's been a pleasure over the years to read some of your drafts.
For me, I first started writing consistently when I was a pre-teen and young teen, to take refuge in my room and write about things I loved, to block out the muffled rumble of arguing coming from the living room.
Life's been super busy, in good and in challenging ways, so I missed "Fifties by the Fire" yet again. Thank you for being faithful!
Such a strong sense of place and depth of emotion, Justin. The shards of glass embedded in the tree--that was visceral and raw. Thank you for sharing with us.
Thanks for sharing this tender memory Justin. Very powerfully written.
Oh man Justin, I remember that horrible day. Your piece so aptly captures every emotion you and your classmates must have been experiencing. And, the somewhat "closure" at the pond is really incredible writing. Well done and as always, thank you for sharing. Uncle Scott
Oh, Justin. This was just beautiful.
Everything that happens to me finds a way to impact my writing, and my perspective, including stories like this one. Thank you so much for sharing it.
Breathtaking, Justin. And heartbreaking. Such a mature piece of writing. The leaf floating on the pond... wow. Thank you
I am crying too. Glad I stepped away from my grind of a to-do list to read it. So much promise lost. So far all of my close calls have just been close calls. Life is a gift.
You got me crying with this one, Justin. The emotions are conveyed so strongly throughout the whole memory. Writing is such a useful form of therapy! Thanks for sharing this with us today.
I remember reading this years ago, Justin, and it had such an impact on me then and now. What a sad memory. When I was about ten years old, one of my friends was building a homemade rocket and it flew into his neck and killed him. As with your memory of your friends, I think that Merrill never got to be a teenager, never got to see a real rocket go into space, never got to complete his childhood. (He was eleven). I hadn't thought of this memory until I read your piece, which is beautifully rendered.