By Cory Wilson
It had looked startlingly beautiful. The crimson pool on the dull gray concrete was all alight by the flashes of their cameras barraging the scene. Without any context it was just that, colors framing each other to create a master piece. He was an artist who used our disgust of him to create something.
We can’t relate to James’ life, or understand it. We tried, and failed. Then we blamed him for those failures. Our own ignorance became the burden he had to bear. So he refused. Maybe that’s why he did it. Just to show us he could.
James never blamed us. He saw us for what we are. We people, with all the faults and short comings contradicting our great achievements. We built our skyscraper then beat our wives. We broke into outer space, and then we break out vows. James saw us for what we were, except he wasn’t one of us.
He took that step. It was that quick leap that none of us can take back. It wasn’t out of hatred or shame. It wasn’t out of rage of sadness. It was something else. Some push of understanding that we could only grasp at, thought we knew we will never actually touch it. It’s the act of shooting for it that made us better. The act of failing made us human once again.
As his body hit the pavement others gasped. It should have been no surprise. It was not an event that happened due to some cruel twist of fate. His end was steadily achieved by all of us, but we refused to look at the story we were writing.
Afterwards, we loved James because it was easy. He could not hate us or despise us once his body lay crippled on the ground. He changed from a boy to an icon. A symbol we could all make into whatever we wanted. He was our way of embodying whatever we needed. James turned from a person into an instrument to be used. He may have hated how we remembered him, but that body on the ground gave no sign of care.