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Friday, August 17, 2007Rayquon
Sunday morning my brother was awakened by a phone call. His childhood friend had been murdered on the subway . The kid was 19 years old on his way home from a party . An argument between two groups of guys had broken out at the party and continued when one group of guys followed the other onto the subway. According to witnesses on the train the 19 year old tried to act as a peace maker between the two groups telling them both to “chill out.” One of the guys all of 16 years old had a gun and opened fire in the subway car. Several were injured but only the peace maker was killed. Now a pregnant mother mourns the death of her only son and friends struggled to comprehend the reason for it all.
In the days that have followed my brother has been upset by the fact that the local media keeps bringing up the victim’s past as if it had any relevance to what happened on the train that night. The kid had a rap sheet. It wasn’t anything major by ‘hood standards. He didn’t rob, beat, or kill someone. He was caught with some marijuana on him at the age of 16. Big whoop. I try to explain to him that we as people will always be defined by the actions of our past...it doesn’t matter if you jump in a river and save a bus load of kids if you’ve ever been arrested that will be brought up when the story is reported...”Ex-con becomes a do-gooder!” would be the headline.
I can not say that I really knew him the way my brother did. Until the media mentioned it I never even knew he’d been arrested . I knew him in passing as the charismatic kid who was working hard at achieving the goals he’d set for himself. I knew him as the kid with the infectious smile and the great laugh. Oh man he loved to laugh. I searched my brain for memories of him and in each and everyone of them he was always laughing or smiling. His was one of the many teen faces that breeze in and out of my house on a daily basis. He was one of the many friends my brother has that kiss my mom when they come in and call her “ma”. When he entered my house he’d remove his hat and make sure that anyone who had accompanied him did the same. His name was Rayquon Story and he was my brother’s friend.
I last saw him in June the day of the Puerto Rican Day parade. My little sister was excited about going to the parade by herself with some friends. It was a rite of passage for her. Mom and I were apprehensive about her going to the parade without us but this was a big milestone for her. Rayquon was going to the parade as well and sensing our nervousness about letting her go the young man with the beautiful smile assured us well out of my little sister’s ear shot that there was no need to worry he’d be keeping an eye on her. He was going to be far enough for her to think she was on her own but close enough that if she needed him he’d be able to reach her before she even realized she needed back up.
His name was Rayquon Story and he was a gift to this world for the 19 years he graced it. He was loved by his mother and cherished by his friends. He was thoughtful, respectful, affectionate and polite. Years from now when his life is forgotten by all except those who loved him I’ll remember him as someone who looked out for my little sister. I’ll remember the sound of Rayquon and my brother's laughter as they played video games in the living room a plate full of cookies, a huge bag of chips and a jug of iced tea at their feet to hold them off until dinner was ready. I’ll also remember that he died trying to be part of the solution when it would have been so much easier for him to just walk away and mind his business. Most of all I’ll remember his smile.
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