Portraits of Dead Youth – Tyler

Brian and I died on a cold February day on the side of the road.

Specifically, we both died when Brian’s Chevy Silverado went airborne off an inclined road and crashed into a light pole at 85 miles per hour. Brian died when his neck broke; the force of his forehead hitting the steering wheel snapped his head clean off. He had his seat belt on, but it didn’t do much for him.

I did not have my seat belt on. When we went airborne I held onto the “oh shit!” handle and prayed to God to watch over my family. I knew I was done for.

My life never flashed before my eyes—maybe that had something to do with the fifth of Jack Daniels I had put away earlier in the evening—but I did have a moment of clarity. I did get the opportunity to consciously choose my last thought before death. And I chose to think about my family. I thought about my parents, Debbie and Lawrence; my brother Bennett; even my two surviving grandparents, one maternal and one paternal. I would never get to see them again. I would never get another chance to hug them or kiss them or tell them that I love them.

My body went airborne and my skull went through the  reinforced glass windshield standard in 2005 Chevys. I died on impact, but my body did not stop there. My lifeless body flew out of the pick-up with such momentum that I flew a clear 30 feet before landing in a mangled, bloody heap near Avenue Q. The truck knocked out the power for the night. I don’t envy the poor bastard who showed up first to the scene and found us—Brian, headless and face-deep in power line; and me, bloody and broken in a quickly congealing pile of rotting carcass. And we knocked out the power lines. What a bunch of bastards we were—I wish my last act as a living person hadn’t been something that angered people.

We enter this world alone and we leave this world alone. Or sometimes you leave the world with company. Sometimes your drunk pledge brother thinks it is smart to take a back road home from the bar to avoid the road that is “full of cops, bro, I swear.” Why did I listen to him? Not like I had much of a choice. Everybody at the bar tab was wasted. There weren’t nearly as many girls as we had hoped, so the 200 guys and 35 girls there went hard on the $7,500 tab that the fraternity had paid the night before.

And even though Lubbock is famous for its high rates of drunk driving, the fact that it is wide and empty—and that everybody drives a giant pick-up truck—usually curbs the danger by a good amount. But none of that saved us. We hit the one pole in the desert that is Lubbock. We lost a game of Minesweeper on Easy.

Brian did not mean to get us killed. If I were alive I would be willing to bet that nobody wanted Brian to survive that car ride more than Brian. We can call it an honest mistake. Water under the bridge. No sense holding a grudge now.

I know Brian misses his parents and brother as well. And I’m sure Brian’s girlfriend is devastated. We will both miss our friends and fraternity brothers at Texas Tech, who were our family away from home. Even after the whole “organized crime” thing with the lumberyard leading to a chapter-wide suspension. But you can never suspend brotherhood or friendship.

Good-bye world. Wreck ‘em, and I’m sorry I had to leave the party so soon.

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