There Were Seven of Us

by James Nantau

There were six of us – two rows of three, inside arms employed, eyes forward and hearts sinking, falling and swimming in a lake of painful voyeuristic curiosity with no recourse or recovery in sight – just take it, carry it and keep your chin up too. We weren’t suppose to be here today, there were other plans, better plans – something with laughter and mischief to be sure – something mother wouldn’t readily approve of, but deeds of important youthful achievement and we wouldn’t have been wasting our time either but rather testing our mettle against the hollow catholic threats preached at us for a lifetime now. But alas, duty and friendship calls, so we are here in this predicament with strange cargo in hand and laughter nowhere in sight and where is my tongue anyway – it is gone from my throat, I cannot find it, I cannot speak and I cannot spit, I cannot smile and I will not try, he was my friend, he was good, he was funny as hell and innocent as me, but he is gone. The load is so heavy, worse than I thought, are there bricks inside, he wasn’t this big, why is it so damn heavy, I want to put it down, I want to walk away, I want to trip and fall, can we get some help, I want to quit this thing, I want to go skating, I want to stop all this and do something else. Here is the place at last, the final stop where I can put him down – my burden, my buddy – to rest here forever and be free of all pain, stress, strain, risk and free of joy and sinful delight and candy and cake and sex and money and love with glowing heart and free also from all glorious sunsets, ocean breezes and friendly smiles, free from hugs and kisses and touchdowns and hat tricks and graduations and girlfriends and free at last from my sarcastic acid tongue running roughshod all over him, assaulting and abusing his no-comeback ways. I miss him already.


James Nantau is a writer living in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.