John Ducey

Mrs. Goff -- Period 7

April 24, 1984

Seton Catholic Central

Our Spot

I promised myself I'd never go back there. It was as dismal and gloomy as the day it happened. The sky was gray; the old, rundown buildings were gray; even the sparse patches of grass seemed gray. Why had I come back? Slowly, as I approached the two railroad tracks, all the memories began to come back to me.

Billy was the one who really liked to go there. He and I would go there to do a lot of things. We'd walk around after dinner or throw a baseball or just sit and talk. I was only nine years old, and Billy had a good three years on me. I was always more than willing when he wanted to do things with me. I guess I was closer to my brother than most kids are at nine and twelve. That made it all the more difficult to lose him.

It was such a bad day, I remember, and I didn't really want to go to "our spot," as Billy and I called it. Billy insisted, though, and he was so riled up, he convinced me to go along. As we walked down to "our spot," Billy did all the talking. The reason he was so excited was that in school that day he had kissed Lori Finster. It was his first kiss, but I, being only nine, simply couldn't share his enthusiasm. Maybe if I had, Billy would be here with me now.

When we got to our spot, Billy immediately ran to the railroad track and began to walk on one of the rails. You see, for all the times Billy and I had been going there, we had tried to walk a certain distance while balancing on the rail of a railroad track. To that day, neither of us had done it. Billy, though, was so worked up by the happenings of the day that he bet me a dollar he would make it all the way.

I sat down to watch Billy get ready. First, he tried walking backward. That way, he used to say say, it was easier when you walked forward. While Billy was "warming up," I felt a few drops of rain bounce off my nose. They were so cold they sent shivers throughout my body. I was so fascinated with the falling rain that I didn't even notice Billy begin his journey. It was the sound of a train whistle that snapped me out of my spell.

Looking down the tracks, I saw a train coming down one of them. Billy, however, was on the other one. The rain was beginning to come down harder, though, and the sense of urgency made Billy continue walking.

By the time Billy had completed half his journey, the rain was coming down so hard that all my clothes were soaked. Amazingly, Billy kept his balance and continued on. I begged him to quit and go home and I'd give him the dollar for trying so hard, but Billy wanted to finish his trek. I couldn't take any more and started to run toward home.

Hearing Billy yelling, I turned to look at him from about forty yards away. He was only about ten feet from completing the walk, so close that I was even excited for him in the pouring rain. I was watching Billy so intently, with the one train hastening by him, that I failed to notice the other train bearing down on Billy from the other direction.

As Billy reached his destination, he turned to look at me. He was so happy. It was then I noticed the train seconds away from hitting Billy. I yelled and pointed, but as Billy turned and saw the train, he lost his footing on the wet tracks and fell. I will always remember seeing Billy's face as his abounding joy turned to fear and then panic as he fell to the ground. Why had I left him alone on the tracks?

I stood in the pouring rain for what seemed like hours. I didn't know what to do. A sudden crack of lightning and roar of thunder startled me and I ran for home. As i raced home, I could feel the cold rain on my face mixed with tears which now poured from my eyes. I collapsed on the front step of my house from exhaustion, panic, and shock. My brother had died and I had seem it happen. That day, my life changed. I became quiet and removed. I made few friends and lived alone.

Now, grown up, I was standing where I hadn't stood for thirty years. It was all so tragic. A distant train whistle brought a tear to my eye. Slowly, I approached the tracks. When I reached the rail Billy had walked on, I stepped up upon it and tried to walk the required trail. I glided along the rail. As I walked, I thought of all the good times Billy and I had in "our spot." All the great times began to come back to me. I had blocked everything out of my mind. Now, it was all there, happening again and again in my head.

I looked down onto the track to find myself one step away from completing the walk. As I took the final step, a hole appeared in the gray clouds, and the sun shone through brighter than I had ever seen. I had done it. I had conquered the fear and agony that had haunted me for the past thirty years. I was free to live my life with a lighter heart and mind. I felt better about myself, and Billy, than I had felt in a long, long time.

Nice ending!
Your description is excellent,
of events as well as characters.
Nice frame for story!


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