A boy died yesterday. It was 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 30, 2014. Why is the date important? Because it is the tail end of the sum of days of a short life lived. Jesus Eduardo Moreno was only eighteen years old. I remember being 18. It felt like I was 15. Still a kid.
Jesus had entered the riptides of the beach at South Padre Island accompanied by three other youths. I wonder what was going through their minds. Perhaps challenging each other to brave the rough waters. Perhaps pressuring each other to go farther and deeper.
I have known these waters of the beach since childhood. They are tricky. They can fool you into a false sense of security. And you foolishly push further in, confidently stepping on that sand until suddenly the ground below you simply drops away as if falling into the ocean and you are left there feeling completely out of control…panic quickly setting in.
Once when I was 12 years old, I was playing at the beachfront with my brother, Luis. Our parents sitting only a few feet away on the sand enjoying the peaceful ocean breeze. Luis was always more daring, and so he ventured farther into the water. I could hear my mother calling from behind me, warning us not to go in too far. I suppose I was wiser. I suppose I was more chicken-shit. I stopped and looked at my brother.
He turned up his face and looked at me with a smirk that said, “Sissy!” I wanted to prove to him that I was fearless, too. But I wasn’t. The Gulf of Mexico is an impressive body of water. And as I stood waist deep in the water, I saw Luis disappear from my sight. At first it was innocent. He’s always been a prankster. So I tried to disregard the event. I turned back at my parents. They were busy tending to my sisters.
Again I searched for my brother in the horizon. Still nothing but the seagulls fish diving. I worried. I turned to my parents again. Still no clue something might be going on. I searched frantically, yet parallized at the legs for fear of slipping off into oblivion. And then, when panic began to set in, Luis emerged from the water only a few feet in front of me.
The strong undercurrent had stripped him of his t-shirt. They tussled for instances which seemed eternal, he said. But something intervened on his behalf. And he was released back to us.
People are commenting on the ValleyCentral.com news page about Jesus’ death yesterday. They say if he would have heeded the warnings about the riptides, he would have lived. But when it is our time to go, as my father always says,
“Quien cruza esa raya? Nadie.”
“Who crosses that line? No one.”
R.I.P. Jesus Eduardo Moreno, a young boy of Texas.