Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Best Enemy

They moved into our neighborhood when I was eight, a couple and four kids. Eddie was the oldest, at seven, and I immediately took a dislike to him. He was living in the house where my best friend Keith had lived until his parents decided to move to another town. Therefore, I could not like him. It didn't help that his dog would poop while running down the sidewalk.

For a couple of years, we got in the occasional wrestling match, or would simply bristle at each other, but it was never anything serious. We both tired of having each other as enemies, and started saying "hey" to each other when we passed. We started getting along, but we really didn't have much to do with each other.
One day, though, Eddie saw me in the front yard, and he wanted to talk. He talked about what he wanted to do when he grew up. I remember how excited he was, how focused, how hopeful. What I don't remember is what he'd chosen for his future career.
The next day, I yelled out a "hey" at Eddie as he rode down the street. He rode like a wild man, zigging and zagging across the street, like he was daring cars to get in his way.
An hour later, Eddie was in a coma. A car had run into him, and he smacked his head on the pavement as he went down. We didn't wear helmets back then; that would have been weird.
Later that day, Eddie died. He was ten years old, the age of my son today.
He popped into my mind this morning. I wondered what he would be doing today, where he would be living, how many kids he would have.
But for some reason, I can't remember what he'd planned to do for a living when he grew up. Maybe it doesn't matter. After all, he never grew up. He never got the chance.
Still, it bothers me that I can't remember Eddie's chosen career field.
I'm going to stop now, and watch my son sleep.