The Day We Killed Geoffrey

Today I had a moment to visit the house where I grew up. There were many more trees when I lived there and less prairie dogs. Memories and emotions competed for space in my consciousness while I scanned for visual details. Just before I drove off, I started laughing. I remembered the day we killed Geoffrey.

I don't know always know where my inspiration comes from. On this day, it was inspired by my new red Schwinn bicycle. I convinced my friends we should have a bicycle race on the roof of my house while my parents were gone. It took a little persuading, but finally we were hoisting our two wheelers to the roof. The track was marked with small rocks.

Quickly we became daring, thinking less and less about falling off the house and more and more of feeling free, alive and unstoppable. In between racing sessions I got off the roof to get a drink from the water hose. A pitiful outcry moved from above me to just next to me. It was Geoffrey; he wasn't moving. From the edge of the roof stood a line of boys looking down at his still body. Someone softly said, "We killed Geoffrey."

In old western movies you throw water on someone who isn't moving. This was Texas and that is what I did. I turned the hose on Geoffrey and he began to cry. He was the youngest of the group. We straightened the handlebars on his bicycle and walked him home. We told his mom we were all racing and he had a bad fall. We didn't say he fell off the house.