Syracuse, NY 13210
Volume 13, 2013
They put Rock in a big brown box and there were different colored flowers all around. Roc was in a black suit. I had never seen him in this suit. Roc was sleeping. I wondered when he would wake. I hope next weekend we can play basketball. He told me if I beat him he would buy me ice cream. I really like cookies and cream. Roc’s mom, Auntie Anne, was crying. Why was she so sad? Cousin Janet was crying too, holding onto Auntie Anne’s hand. I looked at my mom and her face was so sad. I ask my mom what was going on. She said Roc died of cancer and was going to a better place. I ask my mom if I could go with him for Roc was my favorite cousin. The last time I saw Roc he threw up purple stuff, he looked skinny. I think he cut his hair. His voice was soft and because he was quiet I thought he was mad at me. But then he looked at me and said “James, be a good boy; one day we will play basketball all day.” I asked Cousin Roc when and he said soon. I wonder what it means when someone dies and cancer sounds like a big word.
My mother held my hand closely to her bosom as if she would never let it go. She shook forward and backwards. The hot water from her eyes hit the surface of my hands intensely. I looked down at my black suede skirt and saw the wetness from my own tears. I could not bear to see Roc like this. This was not the memory I wanted to have of him. My eyes shifted gently toward little James. He stared down at the casket with an expressionless face. I wondered if he understood. He wore a brown suit that tugged his body and would soon become too small for him. He had black penny loafer shoes. His head tilted slightly to the right side. He gave a sigh of curiosity. But I would not do it. I would not be the one to tell him that Roc is gone. How could I tell him that Roc had already played his last game of basketball with him? After what seemed like an eternity James finally walked with his head down, away from the casket. I wonder did he know.
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