My mom called this afternoon to tell me that David Forbes died of a heart attack today. This will not mean anything to most of the world, but Mr. Forbes was the man I always figured would be my substitute dad if anything ever happened to my parents. The Forbes’ were my parents’ best friends down in Kenai, and we lived next door to them for a significant chunk of my life. Liam, the oldest Forbes kid, is fifteen months older than me but I always sort of thought of him as my twin, and he and Laura, who’s 15 months younger than me, were my best friends growing up.
If it weren’t for David, I very likely wouldn’t be here for all of you to know and love. He saved my life when I was four or five; Liam and Laura and I were playing tag, and Dad and Mr. Forbes were in the back yard of our house working on … the well, I think. I can’t remember. Anyway, we weren’t supposed to go behind the house, because they’d dug a very deep pit and it was feared that the children would fall in it. Naturally, we forgot about how we weren’t supposed to go behind the house, and Liam was It and was chasing me, and I raced around the back of the house and right out over the very deep pit.
This in itself was bad.
What was worse is that there were rusted-out oil barrels with the tops punched out at the bottom of the pit, and sharp horrible spikes of metal pointing upwards to impale little girls who were running like bats out of hell into thin air.
David reached out and grabbed me by the back of the shirt, just one of those lickity-split reactions. I don’t so much remember /falling/ as I remember, very vividly, being upside-down, headfirst over the metal shards.
And I remember that it was Mr. Forbes who caught me.
There are tears someplace inside me. I’m not sure when they’ll come.