It is hard to pinpoint the year exactly, but lets say it was 1978 and I will call him Scott. He wasn’t a bad looking kid if you didn’t know him better. A towheaded boy with brown eyes and a playful way about him. Gangling and busy is how I would describe my memory of him. He lived in the forgotten part of our suburban town where the subsidized housing was. 'The Pines of Perinton.'
It was morning English class and he sat in front of me. He arrived one day with a vanilla cupcake for the teacher. She wasn’t there yet but the class was filing in and one boy noticed the treat and went to grab it. Scott fought for it, “Hey! That’s for the teacher.” Then it was all out game. The cake went from person to person and the comedy of errors was hard not to laugh at. It was like a show; one that later could have been deemed a tragic comedy. Its all fun and games until someone loses an eye….
The cupcake ended up back on Scott’s desk with a pencil in it and when the teacher walked in and saw him mid air to retaliate she scolded him not the others. My friend, Robin who sat close by and I saw the ridiculous irony of it all and laughed and laughed. It all seemed so funny that day. We tried to tell her that the cupcake had been for her. I don't know if we were able to get the words out. She still wanted to blame Scott. He was the easy one to pick on. We belly laughed so hard that morning I think we even laughed until lunchtime.
The next week when we got to English we heard that Scott had died the night before. It was rumored that he had been found with a gasoline ridden rag over his face on a mattress. Just a week before he was at the center of class with us laughing and now a week later we were crying for him. Robin and I sobbed through lunch. We sobbed so hard we couldn’t stopped. I remember sobbing for weeks. There were no words. There still aren’t any. It is hard to remember the details of his existence except for that fateful time and wonder Where was the Divine for Scott?