To Have Lived
Bogart, Georgia 2001
It was raining as a small group of people dressed in black made their way up the hill to the cemetery. Most of them carried dark umbrellas over their heads to shield them from the rain. Remorse and confusion was upon everyone of them. Especially the three teenage boys, two who were helping to carry the blue casket up the muddy hill, and the other one who followed closely behind. He wrung his hands in fear and confusion. The rain fell softly and almost silently. A mist hung over the countryside and cast an eerie feeling.
The two boys, Marcus and Levi, helping to carry the casket struggled with their own emotions and grief. Levi, who was fifteen, and the oldest, tried to hold in his tears but he did so without success. He was a tall boy and he had a good spirit about him. He seemed to always no just exactly what to say and he was always ready to lend a helping hand to anyone. With his kind smile and green eyes, Levi could make the most hateful person smile.
But as for Marcus, the boy who walked behind Levi carrying the casket, with the brownish hair and rather solemn blue eyes, he was very different from his kind friend Levi. Unfortunately Marcus, who was only fourteen, was having more difficulty with his grief. He struggled to contain himself and not let a tear fall from his eyes. It seemed as if he didn't really know how to cry. But all of his life Marcus had tried to keep his true feelings from showing. I guess you could say Marcus was the kind of person that built a wall around himself and refused to let anyone in. But on this day everything seemed to have changed
The other boy, Jamie, the one who walked behind the casket, was crying softly. He rubbed his hands together until they turned red. Jamie's original age was supposed to be fifteen but he was mentally challenged so he was different and didn't really act his age. In his head he was still a little kid. But he was a kind and sweet soul. On the outside he looked like any normal fifteen-year-old boy and if you had seen him you would have never thought he was mentally challenged. But on the inside Jamie was such a kind person. But today he felt as if he was going to go crazy. His gaze was upon the casket and he was confused when he saw it.
It may seem odd that these three boys could have such a special bond of friendship, being that they are all so different. But they were inseparable and had shared many special times together. Precious memories lingered in each of their minds. Memories of the many times they had spent together in their southern home in Bogart, Georgia.
Bogart, Georgia was rather small but it was such a special place. It was the kind of town that gave you a good feeling and had that ol' southern welcome to it. The people of Bogart were kind and special people. They were hard working and went to church every time the doors were opened. They tried to live by the principles of the Bible and enjoyed life very much. In Bogart everyone knew each other and when you walked down the street someone would always yell a "Hello!" from where they sat on the front porches of their houses drinking iced tea and lemonade.
If you came to Bogart you would see a country town with not very many stores. There was Dolly's Salon, George's General store, and Al's barbershop. Then of course there was the local newspaper office where a lot of gossip was told on the thin pieces of newspaper. It was a friendly town and you always feel welcome.
The three boys, Marcus, Levi, and Jamie had lived in Bogart all of their lives. It was their home and they loved it just as much as their folks. But now everything seemed so strange and frightening to them. Usually the sun was always shining and it was hot in Bogart. But on that day, that sad day, the rain had chosen to fall. Bringing with it more sadness.
Finally the group of people entered the cemetery and the paul barriers set down the casket under the green tent that had been set up for the funeral. The preacher, Bro. James, took his place in front of the casket and held his Bible in his hands. He waited for the group of people to come closer before speaking. Marcus and Levi went and stood in the group of people waiting for the preacher to speak.
"Where's Jamie?" Levi asked Marcus.
"I don't know. He was just here a second ago," Marcus whispered.
Levi glanced around hoping to see Jamie but he didn't see him. As his eyes passed over all of the people he finally saw Jamie standing out in the rain. He hadn't come under the tent yet.
"He's over there. Let's go," Levi said.
Marcus sighed and followed his friend out into the rain.
"Jamie, are you okay?" Levi asked as they approached the boy.
"Go away!" Jamie yelled as he rubbed his face in a rough gesture.
"Jamie, you need to come in out of the rain. They are starting the funeral service," Levi said reached out and touching Jamie's arm.
"I-I-I-I can't go in. . .there. I don't want to see. . .him again," Jamie said stomping his foot in frustration and anger.
"I know that it's hard but you've got to," Levi said encouraging.
"But he. . .he's gone! He was my only brother. And I'm. . .scared!" Jamie said shaking his head as he began to cry.
The cold rain ran down his face hiding the fresh tears that fell like the raindrops themselves.
"That's why you've got to go in. He would have wanted you to be brave now," Levi said trying to comfort the troubled boy.
Jamie lifted his head and looked at the green tent as it flapped and waved in the wind and rain. He had always been afraid of the dark but now the dark didn't seem so frightening anymore. He had experienced something far more frightening than the darkness.
Let's go," Levi said and the three boys went under the ten and Pastor James began to speak.
"Today we gather together to lay to rest. . ." Pastor James' words faded away as Levi's mind drifted. It drifted to a time and place that seemed like such a long time ago. Back to a time when the sun was shining and all was well.
To Be Continued. . .