Across the Hall

I am from a small town in south Louisiana.  Everyone knows everyone.  Even though David was 4 years older than me, I knew him my whole life.  Along with being from the same town, we both attended an all boys catholic school in the neighboring town.  When he was in senior I was in the eight grade.  We never really had any in debt conversations but we did talk on occasion and we’d always say hi to one another. 

It was homecoming day 1977.  A Friday afternoon, last period.  I look across the hall and I see David.  He is looking towards the center of the class and I don’t recall him ever looking my way.  I don’t know why I just noticed him there today.  It’s the first week of November so we have been in school for a couple of months.  Maybe he was assigned a different desk, who knows.  I just remember seeing him there.  So clear.  Like a snapshot in my mind.  Still so vivid all these years later. 

That Friday evening David was murdered.  He was with his girlfriend after the homecoming dance when two me approached their car and kidnapped them.  They drove to a rural location and raped the girl then shot them both.  Now that doesn’t happen in a small town in the late 70’s.  To someone I know.  It was shocking to say the least.  All the kids that attended this school from my town were forced to go to the funeral.  It was frightening to be so young and see such a young person dead.  The same person I had seen only a few days before, hours before his death.  To make things worst we were all interviewed by law enforcement at school the following week.  It was a dreadful experience.

If you ever saw the movie Dead Man Walking with Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn you know the story of the man who was convicted of these murders.  I know the young man murdered.  The story is about the friendship between the murderer and a nun from New Orleans who he wrote while on death row.   It is a good movie with great performances by both.  I find the book is much better. 

The reason I told this story is I wonder if it was really that particular day I am remembering.  I have always believed it was that day.  However, does our mind play tricks on us when we think back?  I have always wondered about this memory, this moment in time.  Maybe I saw him a week before and that is when my mind took that picture of him.  Maybe I did indeed see him that day.  I suppose it’s just God’s way of making me remember him.  I see him, so clearly in that desk.  So full of life.  That is my memory of him.

Till we meet again.  Good day.

Mind of Shoo   

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