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October 22, 2005

The empty seat next to me

I sit looking at the empty seat next to me. It's a perfectly good seat, yet no one wants to sit there. Actually, no one dares sit there. I think they would keep others from doing so as well. It's a nice chair, really. Black, high-top, nice and clean... It's nicer than most of the other chairs. But it's empty.

The walk around it, and the workstation it sits near. People look at it, and for some reason, avoid even touching it. I even look at it and find my mind wandering.

It was Sam's chair. He was in it before he left.

We can still see him. He was the second youngest of my people. Others thought of him as much older, but for those that got to know him, we knew how young he really was.

None of us knew he wouldn't come back... You can still see the shock in people's faces.

Without Sam, is it still Sam's chair? Why can't anyone else sit there? Why can't anyone bring themselves to sit there? Grief not addressed and reality not faced. He was a kid, but he was also a man. He was supposed to be away from the danger, but it came to him.

Did the rest not "earn" the right to sit there? Did Sam earn the right to his own chair? Did he do it by the things he did while he was here, or what happened to him when he left? Is it respect, or guilt, or fear that keeps the chair empty?

Does anyone earn anything by getting killed? Our hearts are as empty as Sam's chair.


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