“I still like you. I don’t want you gone.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“I don’t want to see you hurt. I want to see you feeling great…”
“Life just constantly feels like shit.”


9. 11/15/16

I’ve never known someone to die before.

Most 15 year olds have had a great grandparent die of old age.

Or a third cousin they met five years ago die of a medical complication during a routine procedure.

But my great grandparents died before I was alive and I didn’t know any of my third cousins.

My hands in my yellow cardigan, I rush into the funeral home with my dad close behind.

Joel and Jordan had been his students.

I remember when this building was the local coffee shop. My mom would take my sister and I every Sunday before church.

Noah’s aunt was crying into her husband’s shirt.

I stand in front of the science fair trifolds that had been converted into Joel’s livelihood.

To me they almost seem like they’re covered in Noah’s face.


I know that any other Saturday night he could have been out drinking with Joel and Jordan.


I see Anna Erickson from my art class last year.

I ask her about college.

She says it’s going good.

We hug.


Noah sees me across the room.

“Hey man.”

“Hey Grace.”

He’s drinking a smoothie from the new coffee shop down the highway. They’re made with milk instead of juice.

“Can I hug you?”


The hug was almost more for me than for him.


There were pictures of Joel with his friends in drumline.

If he would have died at 76.4 years, these would have been pictures with his kids or with his wife.

We really are here one day, gone the next.

A sad country song plays on.


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