Ride together, die together. Forever have each other’s backs, no matter what. That was the vow we made. What we had went deeper than best friends. Went deeper than brothers. It’s almost like we were connected by soul. Always on the same page, never mad at each other. We would always tell people we’re a package deal. You couldn’t have one without the other, everyone knew it was Seam and Harp. It actually came to the point where people would call me Seamus and him Harper.
I met Seamus the first day of seventh grade. I guess you could say it was love at first sight, as we all sat together in one big room. There were probably 40 of us or so lined up in rows sitting at tables. I looked around at everyone and quickly realized that it was going to be six long years ahead of me. One person caught my eye, though. Seamus. I could tell I was going to be good friends with him. He was the only one that seemed cool to me. I could tell, there was something about him. How he carried himself, the type of clothes he wore. The kid had style and it wasn’t hard to tell. Our teachers proceeded to bring us outside. They told us to line up by birthday, but the catch was we couldn’t say a word. As kids started to figure it out and fall into place, Seamus and I ended up right next to each other. Six days apart. We were born in the same week. We quickly introduced ourselves and we became close, immediately. From that day forward we only grew closer and closer. Never in a million years could I picture life without Seamus by my side. It was kinda like a superhero and his sidekick, except better because we were both superheros.
Seventh grade was no doubt the best year of my life. Became close with Seamus, got into girls, had the best spring break we’ve ever had. I accumulated some of the best memories of my life. That year was like a whole new life for me. I was only twelve, but I experienced more in that one year than I think I will any other year of my life. From then on I thought that life could only get better. I had found a brother, someone who meant more to me than a best friend ever could. I found someone who truly understood me and everything I was about. Not only was he into the same things, but he was willing to explore and discover new things with me. I can honestly say there is no better feeling in the world knowing that you can do anything you can imagine, but have someone by your side that you can trust with your life. Never once did we have an ounce of doubt in each other, because we knew no matter how hard things got, we could do it. Together.
Seventh grade was a year never to be matched, but eighth grade year was a close second. I think that middle school is more transition years between grade school and high school than it was learning years. It gave Seamus and I a little room to have some real fun. We took advantage of those years. As our school tradition goes, at the end of every eighth grade year your whole class goes the Washington, D.C for a week. A week away from school running around D.C with all of our best friends. Seemed like a blast. Seam didn’t see it like that though. We had paper work we had to fill out, who we wanted our chaperones to be, who we wanted as our roommates. I felt devastated when Seamus told me he didn’t want to go.
“My grandparents live in D.C. I’ve been there like a million times. Why would I want to go again?” he would always say.
Me and our other buddies tried to explain that it would be different this time because he’d be going with us, and that the trip wouldn’t feel complete without him. It was getting close to the time of the trip and Seamus still hadn’t committed to coming. It wasn’t until only a few weeks before the trip, to where we had finally convinced him to come. Luckily for me the person who was organizing the roommates, the chaperones, and planning the whole trip out was my cousin, Sue Verchereau. The second Seamus told me he was in, I ran as fast as I could to her office on the other end of the middle school to beg and plead with Sue to let Seamus and I be roommates. She told me that she’d think about it. Nobody found out who any of their roommates or group mates were going to be, yet. For the next few days of that week, Seamus and I both begged Sue every second we could. Until finally one day as I was chasing Sue down one of the long hall ways screaming her name, when I got close she swung around and looked me in the eyes and shouted,
”Yes Harper, you two can be roommates!”
“Ahhhhh yes! Thank you so much Sue, you’re the best!” I exclaimed with joy. I was pumped. I immediately ran to find Seam.
“Bro, we got it. We’re roommates son.”
“Hell yeah, Harp, that’s what I’m talking about.”
We felt so cool knowing that we were going to be roommates, and no one else knew who they were going to be with.
Time for the trip soon came around. We were fired up to get out of school for a week, and tear it up in D.C. together. After the long bus ride we finally got down there. We put our stuff in our room and headed out to do some touring of the city. We quickly realized that we didn’t care much for the monuments and museums, but that we were going to look for girls from other schools. We were having a blast.
A few nights in we were scheduled to go to the Kennedy Center to watch a play and have dinner. We had to go dressed up. Seam and I had obviously planned our outfits before we had left for the
trip. We both had grey vests. We decided that blue shirts and grey vests would look fresh. In our rooms we got all laced up. Checked each other out, made sure the outfits were on point. Sure enough, looking good. They had set it up so we would all walk out two by two to the busses, and get our pictures taken all dressed up. We knew we looked good. Shades on and everything. Stunnas. When it came time for Seam and me to walk out, we got the walk on. You know the strut. The swagger that topped the whole look off. I remember walking next to Seamus, feeling invincible. Almost like we couldn’t be touched. That’s when the picture was snapped. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This one was worth more, far more.
If someone asked me to sum up our relationship, I wouldn’t say anything. I would just hand them the picture of us side by side, and immediately they would know. Seam and Harp, a team never like any other to walk the earth, ever.
August 11th, 2016. A date burned into my memory forever. It was arguably the nicest day of the summer, weather wise. Eighty-five degrees, not a cloud in the sky. Perfect day for the water. I had hit up Seamus and our friend Erhan to go swimming at a local pond. They were both down. I had met them both in town and we headed out. On our way we decided to stop by our friend Harry’s house to see if he wanted to come with us. Luckily, he was home and was able to come. We packed the car, and we left Harry’s house to go to the pond. We walked to the water laughing and talking as we normally do. The day seemed perfect. Almost as if nothing could go wrong. We all jumped into the water as soon as we laid our eyes on it. I had asked Harry if he wanted to swim out a little way.
“I will in a sec, I want to try to do a backflip off the dock real quick,” he said with a smile.
“ Alright, alright,” I replied.
Seamus was next to us, so I asked him.
“ Yeah for sure,” Seam said.
So we did. We swam out a little ways, not too far. Nothing that we haven’t ever done before. As we swam, we were talking and laughing about what the upcoming school year was going to be like. I can recall it like it happened yesterday. I remember looking into his eyes, seeing his amazing smile he always had on his face, as he held his fist out for me to bump in between strokes, I did. We then proceeded back towards the dock. I had turned to my back for a stroke or two, and when I looked back to where Seamus had just been, he wasn’t there. Just a ring pushing outward from where he had submerged. I looked next to me to see where he would come up. I thought he had just gone under for a second. I waited and waited. I then yelled to Harry and Erhan who were standing on the dock,
“ Yo, I don’t think Seamus can hold his breath this long.”
They immediately jumped in. We frantically dove for the next 45 minutes to try to find him, but we never did. On that day Seamus never came up. He passed, fearlessly. I know he did. Seamus was the most fearless kid I knew. He was never afraid of anything, the kid would never back down no matter what. I was the last person he touched, last person he talked too. I don’t think it would have been right if it had happened any other way.
Not a day goes by where I don’t think of Seamus. In a way I feel like on that hot summer day in August, I lost part of myself. It still doesn’t make sense. I don’t think it ever will. I’ve always heard people say life isn’t fair. I never truly understood that, until that day. I had always felt on top of the world. It’s true, you don’t know what you have till it’s gone. It’s still hard to believe what happened. At times, it feels like I am just waiting for Seamus to come back around, like he’s gone on a vacation and we’re all just waiting for him to come home.
In my six years of knowing Seamus he taught me more than anyone else ever could. The way he lived everyday to the fullest, the way he carried himself. Most of all everything he said, he meant. There will never be anyone like Seamus, such a pure soul, someone you simply just can not replace. The passing of Seamus has made me stronger. I have to be strong for Seam. He wouldn’t let me be weak. As I move on in my life, I hope to fulfill some of the characteristics that Seamus possessed. How he lived every day to the absolute fullest. How he left a positive impact on everyone he came across. I hope I can use them as he did, to become the best that I possibly can. I hope they can help and further me with whatever path I choose to take.
Seamus, until I see you again, stay down for me. Much love brotha. Forever ya boy,