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Marco North: the falling boy (too bitter a fruit)

He was 17. Big brown eyes, and a gentle smile. I imagine he had a good supply of wisecracks behind that bold chin. He played soccer on the national youth team. A young leader, a son, a dear friend to many. Zaki bought everyone in his class hamburgers after school was closed for a week in the aftermath of a suicide bomb attack. Somehow, I read all this, absorbing the details as they etch a picture in the dim morning light. He was one of many trying to escape, grabbing onto the plane thinking they would let him in. As it took off, and people surrendered to the moment, as they dropped back to the tarmac he did not let go. The wind grew, and still he held on. They say it reached 120 miles per hour before he fell off. 

It is a strange phenomenon, this modern world of ours where we hear a story about someone we never knew, yet it stops me dead in my tracks. The memories flood back, all of the idiotic things that I did at his age, for no great reason. The risk was not even a thrill, just that blind foolishness of youth as we dove headfirst without thinking, convinced we were invincible, that we knew everything. 

The kitchen smells like sulphur and burnt matches. This young man’s random last words hang in the air all day. At one point, the new guitar comes out of the case and I think to write something about him, to paint just a little corner of the frame, not some giant canvas. To pay him some tribute with a few gentle chords. And yes, the bones of a song do appear but I do not like it. It is too bitter a fruit. 


Copyright 2021 Marco North

Marco North is an American photographer, writer and filmmaker who lives in Moscow.

Photograph by Marco North

4 comments on “Marco North: the falling boy (too bitter a fruit)

  1. Barbara Huntington
    September 29, 2021

    And I still want to hear the song

    Liked by 2 people

    • marco north
      September 29, 2021

      Ah, thank you Barbara! You know, I’m going to keep trying to make this one work. I record under the band name Martin Ruby. You can follow me here – https://www.martinruby.com plenty of sad stories and tough breaks in my 1st album.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Chandra Shekher Mishra
    September 29, 2021

    That makes me just ask what are we doing?

    Liked by 1 person

    • marco north
      September 29, 2021

      Chandra – thank you for speaking up. What are we doing? It is a wonderful question. I wrote this as an act of awareness, to say “this is not ok”. It is just a first step, but that is how everything begins….

      Liked by 2 people

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This entry was posted on September 29, 2021 by in Personal Essays, Poetry, Social Justice and tagged , , .

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