Don skidded his bike to a stop at the edge of his lawn. He proceeded to fling himself onto the lush, green grass sending his empty messenger bag flying. He was happy to have finished his first day of work, newspaper delivery was no joke. Everyone excepted their newspaper delivered no later than 6 A.M. If he didn’t have them all delivered on time, the neighbors would call his mother. Then she would yell at him, convinced that he was just out on some caper.
He sat up straight and untucked his red, button up shirt from his light brown khaki pants. Reaching up he jetted his fingers through his hair messing up the smooth gelled locks his mother had done for him this morning. He then unbuckled his belt and pulled it out, letting it hang loosely at his sides.
A smile crossed his lips as the thought of his new rebellious look settled into his mind. He worked out exactly what he was going to say to his mother when he came through the door (and before she could yell at him for looking disheveled).
“I’m 10 now, have a job. Almost the man of the house. I will dress as I please.” He recited out loud boosting his confidence enough to jump straight up, as he did so his pants started sliding down. Grabbing them before they were to his knees, he pulled them up, blushing and looking around to make sure that no one had seen his pants drop. He had forgotten that his mother always bought him two sizes to big pants so he could grow into them. He buckled his belt tight making sure his pants were snug and grabbed the messengers bag.
Peddling home slowly because now he didn’t want to face his mother. All his courage had been stripped as soon as his pants fell. His mind was wandering as to what his punishment would be for the state of his clothing and hair. A thought passed through his mind hoping his dad wasn’t home yet. His heart began to pound and he peddled as quickly as his little legs could muster until he had made it to his driveway. No car was to be seen and he let out a small sigh of relief as he hopped off his bike and walked it up the driveway, resting it against the garage. Don then paced up and down driveway trying to think of any way to regain his confidence. This was his day to shine and he knew it.
“Dream as if you will live forever; Live as if you will die today.” James Dean’s voice echoed in his mind as if the statement uttered just for him.
He puffed up his chest and smirked, “Always can count on you James.” He shouted to his hero even though he was standing alone.
“Hey Ma!” Don called into the house as he closed the door behind him, making sure to slam it a little harder than normal for added effect. Smiling wide he looked around the room waiting for his mom to try to chastise him. His smile quickly faded when he realized he was alone, “Ma?” he asked as he quickly walked passed the dining room table to the kitchen.
There at the small kitchen dinette sat his mother with her back to him. He walked towards he without a word and saw her reading the morning newspaper.
“Ma?” He asked softly.
She turned to face him a look of sadness across her face, “I’m sorry Donnie.” She whispered to him.
A quizzical look plastered across his face, “For what ma?” She shook her head and handed him the newspaper. “I thought you would have read the newspaper this morning darling.” He took it from her and reading the headline brought instant tears to his eyes. He looked up at his mother for any answer and she nodded, “It’s true Donnie, Lisa from down the street called me about it this morning.”
Reading the headline again, Car Collision Kills Actor James Dean, made Don throw the paper and let out a loud cry. He ran to his mother burying his face in her white dress with red polka dots. His hero was no more, lost in a car accident. He couldn’t understand how this could happen or why. His mother held him tight as he cried, running her fingers through his frazzled hair and softly hushing him.
Dallas Morning News (Dallas, Texas), 1 October 1955, page 1