I think it’s the uniforms that kick-started the feeling. They were bright red and white, for the High School’s Red Devils football team. The players were running in circles, doing jumping jacks on the field as they warmed up. The girls were talking (no— chatting), doing occasional stretches and apparently random cartwheels. The individuals floating around were mothers, youngsters and grandparents.
Yesterday there was a car accident on U.S. Highway 83, just south of here. Three teenage boys were driving too fast down a road, and overcompensated once they saw the red stop sign in front of them. The 2002 Firebird rolled, and according to the EMS team that showed up first, the red blood was everywhere. The boys were life-flighted to a hospital in Wichita. I got it on background today that two were in critical condition, and the third was being taken off of life support. He later died.
I was never the happy girl on the field; I was always the kid in the car, or worse yet, the kid whose friend was in the car. Sometimes I don’t even know how all these cars came to be… or how what was left of my burnt little red heart got so wrapped up in them. And as I lean against the guardrail of the stadium, and drink in the beautiful day and all of these happy teenagers, I wonder if I’m really so separated from them as I seem at times like these. Or if we’re really (like they say) all one people, and one consciousness, and just … one.
I decide it is the latter, though whether I do so out of conviction or because it is preferable to the alternative, I don’t know. When I was their age, I chose to be the other kind of kid. At least, I’m pretty sure I did. I know that I chose not to be these kids here, dressed all in red. Even if they did seem so much happier than me.
A hush fell over the crowd slowly, and I wasn’t sure why. Then all I could hear were children playing, and a mother shushing them. I saw a man take off his hat and place it on his chest. The woman I had just been talking to stopped on the walk back toward her husband, and placed her hand over her heart to stare at the red brick facade of the back of the stadium bleachers.
All of them were staring at the wall now, in the quiet – sure that the red, white and blue was waving there beyond. The high school band gave the national anthem an honest try, and not one body moved from it’s place until they were done, though we couldn’t see even them. Red T-shirts, pom-poms and wagons were still, in respect for Old Glory, who they knew was waving on the other side.
I did the same, as I often do here. The pledge of allegiance is solemnly recited, hand over heart, before every government meeting I attend. That first time, I was caught off guard, and because they pause at a different point in one of the clauses then I did as a child (They say “one nation under god- pause- indivisible” whereas growing up, we always said “one nation -pause - under god, indivisible…”) I stumbled over it.
Living here is just as different sometimes as it was to live in Argentina … but only sometimes. Times like this. After talking to state troopers and farmers and going to see a football game. Sometimes things… just come together. And I get a glimpse of the big picture. And I hope that when I do die, all the questions I want to ask god, he will actually answer.
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- denverstreetphotog said: Poignant Stevie. Thanks for sharing this.
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