45 pages • 1 hour readMikki Daughtry, Rachael Lippincott
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“I make my way through a bunch of the most random clusters of people. One walk across that stage seems to have broken down all the shit that mattered so much this morning. What sport you played. What grades you got. Who did or didn’t ask you to prom. Wondering why Mr. Louis had it out for you all semester.”
These lines capture the promise and excitement in the moments before Kimberly’s death. It emphasizes the beauty of transition; letting go of the past and thinking toward the future. After the car accident, the positivity of this moment is stifled. The contrast between the joy of these lines and what happens after heightens the tension. In this moment, all the graduating seniors are on the same page. But soon, life will change in an instant. Kyle will be in a uniquely tragic position that threatens the transition he had planned.
“When we get to the house, I stand there in the rain, clutching the cardboard box from the hospital to my chest. Inside are my dress shoes, the tattered remains of my suit, and the charm bracelet hidden somewhere in the mess, those unclaimed links that will never be filled.”
These lines feature items that symbolize what could have been. They take on new meaning after the tragedy. The charm bracelet symbolizes Kyle’s love for Kimberly and their unresolved conflicts. The use of the word “tattered” captures both the state of Kyle’s torn suit and his chaotic emotions and psyche. The rain creates a tone of ominousness, highlighting Kyle’s Grief and Guilt.
“I slow down as I walk along the path, taking in each headstone while I put off my destination. Mothers, fathers, sons, grandparents. Even kids.”
Often, human beings are most scared by their mortality. The graveyard, filled with “[m]others, fathers, sons, grandparents,” reminds Kyle that he’s not alone. Death is a part of life, and many people die too soon.
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