Years go by and it’s my turn to graduate. I’m not really interested in football anymore. I’m interested in other things: I’m interested in girls. I’m interested in parties. I’m interested in sneaking around my parents. My grades are still crummy. I’ll graduate near the bottom of my class. But I don’t care. I have a few friends and they don’t care either. I comb my own hair now.
I’m a man when I read about Aaron for the last time. And I’m happy. I’m a little smarter. A little bigger. I think I’m handsome. And I am reminded how I miss my boyhood. How I struggled to get it back. To place aside all my bitterness. My disappointments. My insecurity.
And I wonder what Aaron’s last day may have been like. After he slept in. Because he had to.
He worked the midnight shift. The article says he had a little girl. And a fiancée. But they are left behind. There are no suspects in the shooting. His picture accompanies the article. He’s still handsome. Athletic looking.
I often wonder why God puts people into our lives. Some seem to come to heal us. Others to harm. And maybe some to just simply nudge us along. I think this is why maybe Aaron came. To make me care about something in a time of my life when I had nothing to care about. And though I say I knew Aaron, I really didn’t. But maybe someday I can thank him.
“You ain’ no football player.”
He made it sound like a compliment.
Born in Detroit, P.G. Cuschieri is a writer who lives and works in Los Angeles. He is a grateful brother, uncle, friend and a proud Roman Catholic. He can be found on twitter @pgcuschieri.