I Am the Danger

by Monica Trausch

The danger was that we loved Lee too much. He was too bright, too warm, too much joy. He danced in the ocean, let you win at foosball, wore neon green t-shirts, and played guitar constantly. He was too much. And we all loved him immediately. Me, Shae, Tyler, Brendan, and Narath. All of us. We loved him strong and fast. But the danger was always there. I mean, we met the guy, threw back a few warm beers and said, sure, man, come live with us. Sure, man, let me hook you up with a job. You can borrow my bike, sure, man. We were so damn sure. Where were our senses? Our instincts? Our insights and observations? Sure, we were drinking a lot back then, sure, man. Sure, we created this little island for ourselves, this lord of the flies thing, and Lee always had the conch and that was the danger. We followed him off of the island.

We knew he was too much for this little world of ours when we found his body.

This wasn’t supposed to happen but it makes sense now that it has, doesn’t it? The songs he played on the guitar weren’t love songs. The stories he told didn’t have happy endings. The neon green shirt wasn’t worn out of some sort of funny celebration of life—it was more like, this dude was so high all the time, he probably doesn’t know how to dress himself anymore.

But this is all in hindsight, you know? You can’t always see the danger when it's right there, begging you to stay for one more drink, one more dance, buying you a rose because that danger tells you you’re beautiful. So, all of us, me, Shae, Tyler, Brendan, and Narath, we danced. We smiled. We loved Lee hard, like he demanded we do.

When we found his body—now, this had to have been imagined, because when we found him, he was dead—but when we found his body, I swear he looked right at me, with his eyes rolled back and his mouth slack, and said, “I am the danger.”