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I heard it said not a week before the accident in an especially enlightening sixth period inner-outer circle discussion, that nothing brings life into perspective more, than tragedy. This dialogue, coupled with that of a Bible essay I wrote on this very same subject, the very same week, has led me to believe that there is no such thing as coincidence, and as much as my forthright mind would cry out for all irrationality to be revealed in the wake of intellectual discernment, my heart knows better.
I left Friday the 19th of December for Seattle in order to take part in a soccer tryout for a prospective college. The tryout went well, and I spent the night in my newly wed brother’s apartment. I had before intended to stay another night and return on Sunday, but for some reason, by some spur-of-the-moment decision, decided to leave that day. I spent the afternoon driving home as I usually do, not so much listening to the music as singing to it. Within the first hour of entering my abode, I called up my close friend, Aaron Fullen, for his weekend status, wishing to not waste a relatively young night on homework, or any other kind of work- those activities reserved for “late-night Sunday fun time.” He answered his cell with a defeated, half-hearted “hello”. I immediately asked what was wrong; he told me that Christopher had been in a car accident the morning I had left for Seattle and was still being held in intensive care in critical condition. I told him I was coming over, and quickly changed clothes. I briefly explained where I was going to my parents and rushed out the door.
A neighbor lady, unpacking her carload of groceries yelled a curse at me as I sped by, sliding dangerously down the road. My body shook all the way to the hospital, a problem the car heater would not remedy.
The shiny metal doors of the elevator slid back into their holes, and I stepped into the waiting room. It was full of people I thought I knew, though they all had the same sad, colorless faces. I stopped and bent down to give Hillary Nelli, Christopher’s girlfriend, a heartfelt hug. Her tears threatened to be contagious, so I moved away. I took a seat and began putting names to faces. Eli, Sarah, Jenny, Ben, Melody, Andy, Aaron, Jackie, Ian…the list went on and I wondered at how long they had been there. Some had spent the night, they said, and many had been there most of the day, in and out to offer their support and concern. I was touched.

I waited and watched as the hours passed, and people came and went. Someone passed a notebook around wherein were written notes of encouragement for Christopher, when and if he woke up. I sat with an empty page open on my lap and stared blankly at it. Old memories of Christopher drifted to me through the foggy recesses of my mind.
My eighth-grade enrollment in Northwest Christian School left much to be discovered and tentative were those first days, moving from social circle to social circle, passively looking for a place of acceptance. The first one to offer companionship, a safe haven in the awkward world of a thirteen-year-old, was Christopher- and the next few years were laid out before me. Sometimes I can’t help but wonder at the effects such simple decisions have on our lives. But I won’t go into what-if’s, because like I said before, there is no such thing as coincidence.
Sophomore year came, and with it a feeling of increased place and solidity, as boys took yet another step toward manhood. Things between Christopher and I began to fray. The recent Lego construct sessions on Saturday, usually lasting all day would halt abruptly with a heated exchange of words, and an afternoon of gaming in my (at that time unfinished) basement would end likewise. After a time I was beginning to see this as being the pattern. I didn’t see it then, but this agitation between us was not so much a result of youthful immaturity as it was a clash of two very different strong-willed minds. And so an unsaid division took place, and for the most part, we walked separate paths.
It was now Senior year, and I was more afraid then than I had been at the beginning of eighth grade, only in a different way. I was afraid of change, and there was a sense of desperation in me as I became more aware of the long-ignored transition from boyhood to manhood and all it entitled. Any grievances between Christopher and I had of course long since been forgotten. We were both part of the same team now, and we needed no help in getting along. As I worked next to him on the ASB team, I couldn’t help but have respect for Christopher, who showed intelligence, steadfastness, confidence, and capability in all he did. If this was change, then I’d welcome it with open arms.
I smiled at these recollections, and would have even laughed if I hadn’t reminded myself that I was among those distressed- that my laughter could be taken wrongly. I put my hands into my pockets absently then, content to leave the page empty until I’d finished reminiscing. My right hand gripped something small and angular in my pocket, so I pulled it out and cupped it, examining its delicate cut in the artificial light of the waiting room. It was a D20- a twenty-sided die. My heart nearly jumped out of my throat. I couldn’t, and still can’t remember for the life of me how that dice got into my pocket. The D20: the epitome of Christopher- a physical example of his precise and calculating nature. It was a symbol of the hours upon hours of gaming we had shared- the tears, the blood…the victory. I couldn’t keep back a laugh or two, as I reminded myself that those days of zealous adventuring were not all that far away. I picked up the pen given to me, and began to write.

"I drove my boat up onto an ice-flow and wrecked my lower unit."

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The following comments are for "Christopher: A Narrative"
by Goalstad

I hope that your friend is doing better now. I saw how your writing started as just a mind spill, journal-like account and ended as some very quality descriptions. I'm sure that others would like to comment; it's just to sensitive a subject for them probably. Well, I'm sorry this happened but keep writing about it and anything that comes. It's good stuff.

( Posted by: alaskagroan [Member] On: November 25, 2004 )

I hope you're keeping what you write. You may want to go back to reuse an idea or phrase in a new project. But certainly you will be building the body of your life's works. Some people may think that creative writing is about novels or books of poems. Every time you choose to sit down and do a construct, you are creating something that's a part of you, just as wonderful as an original piece of music or a painting. You're a writer. Write.

( Posted by: Ole [Member] On: December 31, 2004 )

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