Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

Flying, being brought down to earth

I knew Chris in grade school. He was a great guy, one of those guys who's not part of any circle, really, but whom everyone likes just fine. He wanted to fly helicopters, and he got into Air Force pilot school. He crashed on a training mission, and died.

When I was in tenth grade, we gathered in the little biology classroom building to play chess. Anthony was a year or two ahead of me. He liked to make paper wads and throw them at the pieces of other players across the room, as a joke. But he turned out to be a nice enough guy in the long run. In the way that people superficially change, he went from a teen who seemed to wish he was not from Arkansas to one of those very Arkansas types, with overalls and all that. A guy killed him in a convenience store with a gun,because the guy was robbing the store and killing the clerk seemed like a good thing to do. I seem to recall the glass was "bulletproof", and the bullets did not pass through, but it shattered anyway, and Anthony died anyway.

Jim Carroll already wrote that great song about "People Who Died", and I'm not going to try to replicate a similar catalog of dead friends in this post. But these little brushes with mortality stay with one, memories which surface, on stray moments, little stars in one's mental constellation.

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