photo credits here.
by samuel siow
“Pass me the ball man, I’m open!” James shouted.
From half-court, I flung the ball to him. The ball swooshed past my defender and landed into James’ hands. He took a hop and shot the ball. Thousands of eyes watched it arc toward the basket, just as the shot clock timer hit zero. There was a prominent swish and the spectators jumped up, cheering jubilantly.
James had scored us a victory.
The pride in my eyes was overwhelming when I saw my best friend smiling and hugging his parents.
The alarm clock rang. I grouchily slammed it silent and sat up on my bed.
“Same dream.” I sighed to myself.
The weather was nice; it wasn’t too cold, and the sun wasn’t blaring with anger. I decided to walk to school.
After a few minutes of enjoying the weather and humming, I stopped at a traffic light.
Something was bothering me.
My phone vibrated with a message.
Practice today will be at 5pm instead of 4pm. Reply to acknowledge. Coach Carter.
Damn. I forgot there was practice today. I bolted home to my confused mother eating her breakfast.
I smiled and told her I forgot something. She smiled and continued eating.
Opening the storeroom door to grab my shoes, I noticed a box sitting on the top shelf in a corner.
I cautiously retrieved it and blew the dust off. I slowly lifted the lid and saw it was the pair of Black and Gold Air Jordan 1s that James got me on my 17th birthday. I had left it untouched since that day.
“I should really starting wearing these.” I told myself, shaking off the packing paper.
Moving to place them in my bag, something caught my eye. On the front side of the left sole was written with magenta ink,
To my greatest friend,
It looked exactly like James’ handwriting—the way he flicked his ‘y’s and crossed his ‘t’s. It made me shudder.
I looked at the clock and realized I was almost late for school. Hurriedly, I shoved the shoes into my bag and started running.
Something about those shoes really bothered me.
Against my better instincts, and knowing fully well I would be even later for school, my feet carried me to where I left part of my soul. The words “Maplewood Cemetery” were carved into a concrete slab above the rusty gates.
I carefully pushed the gates open and slowly walked in. Nothing much had changed since the last time I’ve been here.
I dusted away the dirt on his rectangular gravestone. The same grey words were there. The same grey words that stabbed my heart when I saw them.
Come one come all to this tragic affair
1998 – 2016
May the great Shooting Guard of Duke rest in peace
“I miss you buddy.” I whispered.
I was about to leave when something caught my eye. At the foot of the grave were two foot-prints. I bent down and looked closely. My eyes widened. They were the soles of the Black and Gold Air Jordan 1s. James was the only other person I know who has them.
Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted something lying on the gravestone to the right of the craved words. It was a magenta marker. My breath quickened. Each short huff I took sent icy daggers piercing into my lungs.
I lifted the marker and my knees were weak.
With the same prominent handwriting was written: Kyrie Bowie.