His name was Bryce. I inherited him when I was nine years old. Actually, he became part of our family when my mother married his uncle. It was a second marriage for my mother, and while it might have been less than desirable for my two older brothers, for me it was a slice of heaven. We moved to a beautiful neighborhood, into house three times the size of the one in which I had been born and raised. Not only did this marriage come with a big house, a pool and huge yard, it also came with Bryce.
He lived in Northern Cali with his bro and parents, but he visited often, sometimes spend entire summers with us. Bryce became my good friend. He was six years older than I, but we had a instant rapport that belied the gap in our age. He taught me how to dive and do flips off the diving boards, he helped my stepfather build a tree house for me, he helped me learn how to expertly negotiate my new bicycle built for two that I had won in a contest. By the time I was 13, we were best friends’. Bryce and I spent many summers together and as the years passed we still remained close.
The activities changed but our bonds didn’t. He was handsome smart and funny and even though I was only fourteen years old, I fantasized about marrying him someday. I couldn’t conceive of my life without him. One summer we went swimming at a friend’s house hey had a pool to envy. Complete with diving board a slide waterfalls and a small island in the center. In was by far the coolest pool.
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I decided to slide down on my belly. Apparently given the location of the slide this was not a good idea. I smacked down hard on the bottom of the pool and was knocked out. By the time anyone figured out that I wasn’t just playing around I was starting to drown. Bryce saved my life. He jumped into the pool, pulled me to safety and helped to clear the water One winter night we were on the phone for 2 hours then before he hung up he said something that made me smiles.
He said “just remember, no matter what you do in this life, I will always be there for you if you bump your head.” I told him that he would always be my hero, and then we hung up. Bryce’s car was found the next day. He had driven off the road when he fell asleep at the wheel. He was killed instantly the pain and upset that spread though our family was profound.
I was left with a whole hole in my heart, a hole I was afraid would never mend. Tat summer as agreed, I went to the dock. I sat on the dock m knowing that Bryce would never come, I sat down and started to weep, my tear falling into the rive. I found myself getting angry. How could he have done this to me? Why did he have to die? I was questioning God, Bryce and whoever else was listening. Then remembering our conversation the night before he died, I started to hit my head.
“I’m hitting my head… I’m bumping it, where are u? You lied to me! Do I really need to hurt my self?” in a moment of emotional frenzy, I picked up an oar.