Time that stood still

Remembering the man who taught me to be brave

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The cool breeze moved the hair from my eyes. Leaves crunch under my beat up combat boots that probably should have been many years ago. Sighs leaving my mouth with hide themselves as mist in the freeing air.

My eyes search along the field and through the tree line insuring I was alone before falling the the engraved marble stone.

Although I had been there many times before, the sight never ceased to leave an empty and cold feeling in my stomach. David Carson. The engraved bass reminding me of the man that changed my life. The man who taught me to be brave and to keep a child-like joy in all things.

The man who was.

The stone stood as a reminder that he was not on a long vacation but instead gone. Never to see me walk at graduation. Never to watch me get married. Never to tell me the same old joke another time. It’s been nine years and yet I remember the way  his eyes wrinkles and his stomach shook as he laughed as if it was yesterday.

When my dad worked two jobs to get my mother through her masters program at John Brown University, my grandad became my best friend. Every day after school he offered us a place to learn to play chess and goofy jokes that were never truly that entertaining. He was my best friend and so he was the one that I listened to. He gave me advice on what the best move was in checkers, what I should say to a best friend that was irritated at me for no reason, and what the best food was to order at Cracker Barrel.

I wanted to be just like him, so I did what he said.

The breeze provides a reminder that the past is exactly that, past. I moved to sit on the ground, pulling aimlessly at weeds looking blankly before me. I began talking, knowing that he probably couldn’t hear me but I continued, covering everything from my love life to senior year and the fears I have for college.

I smiled when memories of the good came up only to be reminded of the pain a moment later when no response was given. Time stood still as I sat on that same patch of dead grass.

And yet when the wind somehow turned colder, it provided as a reminder of my responsibilities of the day. With one final sigh swiped the dirt from his tombstone and stood. I uttered a final goodbye and smiled softly, humming a soft Johnny Cash melody as my feet carried me to the car and away just as we had done in days past.