Since putting Jimmy’s bike away on the day of his funeral I’d hardly left my room, hadn’t seen anyone except my dad, so I was surprised when I heard him yell for me to come down, that I had a visitor; clumsy yet curious under the pall of grief, I stepped into my jeans, pulled on a t-shirt, went downstairs and stepped out onto the porch.
The last person I expected to see was Jimmy’s mom, but there she was with an old backpack of Jimmy’s, and looking so tired, not just because she hadn’t done her hair or make-up like usual, but she tried to smile at me and she said hey, I’m so sorry, then my dad gave her some coffee and left for the shop, left us alone on the porch.
She was able to sip coffee but I didn’t move in that awful quiet, didn’t know what to do or say, so I waited while she drank coffee, waited until she asked me if I would go up there with her, said she wanted to see where Jimmy and I were that day, wanted to see where it had happened, so we drove the old quarry road as far as we could in her car then walked to the trail that led up to the Dry Quarry ledge, she wearing Jimmy’s backpack but easily keeping up, just behind me on that steep climb and, like Jimmy, she did not plop down as I did at the top but immediately walked around, testing the edge, making me nervous.
She finally sat down between me and the backpack and made me tell exactly how it happened and where and she got up and stared for the longest time down to the granite shelf below, stood right where he had last stood before slipping, and though her movements were more slow and careful I was sure relieved when she sat down near me again, away from the edge, sat down with me and we both cried and cried right there, side by side, and she said it wasn’t anyone’s fault, said Jimmy was always careless, too much energy, no common sense, it wasn’t anyone’s fault.
When it seemed we might be done crying she reached for the backpack, opened it up to reveal some of Jimmy’s old toys, his Transformer collection, and told me that she had planned to give them to me since me and Jimmy used to love playing with them so much but then decided I was too old now and also she couldn’t bear the thought of me having to hang on to old toys that might only make me feel sad.
She stood up and looked at me with a grin that was so like Jimmy’s, that gleam in the eyes, and said for me to get up, we were going to transform these toys and so we emptied the backpack on the ledge and Jimmy’s mom and I chucked those Transformers as hard as we could down into the quarry, our cheers when they shattered echoing off the granite walls, and as I followed her back down the trail, I sure knew where Jimmy got it from.