Friday, December 31, 2004

First Love Comes...and Goes

There was this little boy that lived downstairs from us named Boo. He was a cute little kid, a bit younger than me. I was about 3 years old and he was about 2. He had the cutest chubby cheeks that I would pinch all the time. He was my best friend and my first love. We played together in the backyard just about every day. Digging holes in the dirt, playing in the mud, all the things that kids that age loved to do. We were inseparable.

The day these pictures were taken, was like any other day. We were playing in the backyard digging holes in the dirt. The sister of the woman that would later become my stepmother decided to take pictures of us. She captured 2 very precious moments that day. The first being me with Boo, pinching his cheeks. The other was a picture of Boo's huge smile. In the background of that picture, if you look very closely, you will see 2 figures. They are my older brother and me...hugging. It's rare to see 2 siblings that felt like that about each other. But I absolutely loved and adored my brother and I am sure he felt the same for me. The picture says it all.

Shortly after these pictures were taken, Boo was in his kitchen one day. Nobody was paying him much attention, like they should have been. He got into a can of lye that he found under the sink, swallowed it, and died as a result.

It is very hard for a child, the age that I was, to understand death. I kept expecting him to come out of the house & play with me, like he always had. The idea that death was forever never occurred to me, nor was it really explained. I started to get the impression that Boo didn't like me any more, that he didn't want to play with me. Or that he had been a bad boy and his mother wouldn't let him come outside. Or that he had found a new friend, that he liked better than me, and was playing in someone else's backyard.

Seeing these pictures again, after all these years, brought tears to my eyes and reminded me how precious those days in my life were. Both Boo and my brother are gone, now. Boo being my first experience with death, my brother being the most recent. Sometimes I wish I could go back to the day of those pictures and stay there, forever young, innocent, and happy. Sometimes I wish I could go back just to say goodbye to Boo, and give my brother one more hug.

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