It wasn’t as pretty as this photo might have you believe. Not then, not now, and not ever. He was the passenger, and though the waters were less than four feet high, his body didn’t make it out of the car before his spirit.
Frank. That’s his name. Not was. Is. Sixteen is what he was. Questionably.
Half a century has passed me by, and as I recall the many faces I’ve had pleasure to look upon, his remains the only I’d met that was my age, and carried something deeper than just a friendly smile. I am sure that boy had some kind of thing for me, but I’ll never know just what that was.
I had a thing for him too, but it wasn’t what I’d call a crush or love. I suppose it was intrigue. I’ve always felt an attraction, or a kinship with youthful faces whose eyes can’t disguise the age of their soul.
I’ve been witness to brake-slam moments, and there’s not enough counseling in the world to make you forget the terror in another’s eyes before they’re emptied of all emotion. It transfers onto you, into you, and it’s almost like you’ve been commissioned to carry out their final scream; and maybe it wouldn’t be so bad, if we knew what it was they wished to say in that last second of being heard.
I don’t spend too much time wondering about Frank’s final moments. I pull up pictures like these, and imagine him stepping out of that mangled car with ease, and smiling the way only he could.
It’s my choice, whether or not I’d like to apply my memory of his life to his death and for me, the choice is easy.