Early in October, Brittanee Rolle, a teacher at Butler College Prep in Pullman, reached out to Weekly editors requesting a space where her students could share their memories of James Garrett, a senior classmate who had passed away the day before.
“Although there’s plenty of media coverage to tell his story, I want my students who he spent most of his time with, to have an outlet for grieving and sharing his story as well,” she wrote. “I think my students could experience some healing while learning the power of writing for self and their community.”
I never thought a smile could faint so instantly
I’m tired of seeing black boys dying on the news so consistently
We treat each other like enemies, distant trees and differently
Educated black boy bullets tainted your body with wounds that will forever not heal Living in the world God this life cannot be real
When can I catch a break even Lightning McQueen needed new wheels
This life is a fast track and it’s hysterical and terrible
It don’t wait for nothing I feel like I’m running for my life like Childish Gambino in This is America
Lord please forgive my sins as I may come off just as bad as they say I am
Complaining bout life when there are people who would die to live again
I just wished that those educated black boy bullets didn’t face you
Because you had so much to live for but a simple object displaced you
And I’d give my life up for you to live yours but would that still seem so selfish of me
Long Live James Garrett & Damarcus Williams
We love you
My Special Angel
Being that James was my very first love and boyfriend, it breaks my heart to know that I will never see him again. We had so many great memories together. We went out on dates, he came over my house, and we even just sat in the car and had conversations about everything under the sun. He never had to do much to please me. It was the little things he did that showed me his unforgettable love. He wrote me love notes all the time and I still have every single one today. My favorite note he wrote was the list of things that he loved about me and why he loved me. I keep it on my vanity so I could see it every time I get ready in the morning. I kept the seventeen cards that had meaningful and thoughtful words on them. One moment in particular, I’m grateful for because I was going through a lot. I was having really bad anxiety/depression and he did not really understand my feelings. So without me asking, he took the time out of his day to look up the meaning of anxiety and depression. He found familiar symptoms, Facetimed me and said, “Baby, are you feeling like this? Let me know something because I don’t like seeing you like this.” From that very moment, I knew he was way different. He holds a very special place in my heart. He always wanted to spend time with me and no matter what we did there was always vibrant energy in the atmosphere. We always thought the same things. One time I Facetimed him and we had on the same clothes: our green Sky Zone shirt and black shorts. We always talked all day everyday. When I got in trouble and my mom took my phone, we emailed each other back and forth until I got my phone back. He was so happy to hear from me. I’ll never forget him and I’ve always cherished and will forever cherish the moments I spent with him. The little time we spent together felt like I’ve known him forever.
I love you forever James.
For the past month I have literally been lost for words when it comes to you. Every time you’re brought up, I don’t know what to say. We weren’t the closest but we were close enough. I was able to come to you for advice and those small conversations would be everything. I will never forget about the onsite fair back in September. I applied for Jackson State University and Alcorn State University on the spot and I was worried about not getting in. You were there to reassure that I would. That moment really meant a lot to me because it was unexpected. We had a lot of small moments that are really dear to my heart. I haven’t been able to cry, or speak about it but it’s not the same with you being gone. I really miss you, words cannot explain it. This is not right; you are supposed to walk the stage with us on June 9th. I could see you hugging your mom because she would be so proud. Your life ended so soon but everything happens for a reason. God does things that no one will ever understand and it’s not really our job to understand. James, I miss you so much and I want you to know that. Ball out in paradise baby boy!
My Favorite Memory with Lil James
My favorite memory with James was on the annual HBCU trip seniors take in September. It was the first night in Atlanta. We just got into the hotel and was looking for something to eat. We ended up going to Waffle House because McDonald’s ran out of food. This was the worst decision ever made. It was Darnisha, James, David, and I at the table. James and David was trippin so hard like it was crazy. David didn’t eat nothing but James, Darnisha, and I did. I had got this chicken sandwich and James, fat self, got a double bacon cheeseburger and the smallest drink he can get. You know James always claiming he rich, but he was trying to play broke on the trip. At first, I was debating if I wanted to eat inside, but then I stayed because they charge more to leave. James didn’t know that, but as soon as he found out he begged the lady to let him stay inside. Then, the waitress brought James a large drink too and he was about to cry. He told her, “Oh no baby, take that back.”
While we were eating our food the lady came and checked up on us a lot. James told her “I’m happy I stayed in because my bodyguard gone pay for it.” He was so happy because he was trying to save as much money as he could during the trip. That night at the table we shared so many laughs. I just wish we could have a few more.
James my heart is really broken and the crazy part is I lost my brother in the same week. I honestly feel like this is a sign for me to do better but I’m not gonna lie it’s been hard for me to function without y’all here. Don’t worry about Amil we got her forever and the Money Team gone live on forever. Just make sure you keep watching over us especially me. Every day I wake up looking at your face and it just makes me sad because when you left a part of me did too.