Parties had been the way of life their whole high school career. Drugs, sex, and Rock and Roll, or so the saying went. They were into fast cars and faster ways to get wasted. The alcohol removed life's burdens and placed them on the back burner, where they built up like a pot of water ready to boil over.
Until that night, they didn't see the stupidity, the irresponsibility, and the utter disregard for life their bingeing caused.
Maybe it was after the big game, or after the big date. Who knew? Who cared? Did they need a reason to get plastered? Roaring across the old country roads in their bucket of bolts, the five high school seniors plummeted through the air with reckless abandon, their intoxicated minds dull to the striped yellow line, the solid white lines left and right, and the oncoming 18-wheeler barreling down the highway.
At the last moment the semi swerved, and instead of being turned into a giant acordian, the tiny car merely flipped ten times, hurling one unsuspecting girl through the windshield, face-first into a scrap-pile of rusty, jagged auto parts and barbed wire. Through it all, four of the five survived, although one would never walk again.
And that is why at graduation, three stood, and one sat.
Notes: Lake Hazel Road, an old, poorly paved country road running east-west south of Boise, was in my mind as I composed this sketch. ``Three stood, and one sat'' was the inspirational phrase given to us that day by Ms. Krueger, and here---as elsewhere---I was interested in using my story to lead up to that phrase.