Sean Christopher Lewis: I was 16


Lewis explores two very different experiences of 1994 @ Identity Theory.

I was 16…

I was 16 in 1994. I had a crush on a girl at my high school named Stacy. She was two years older -- blonde hair, a grunge band on her t-shirt and a constant half-smile on her face -- and it goes without saying that she had absolutely no interest in me. She’d pat my head as I incessantly quoted the movie Heathers to her, and she’d say, “Aw, you’re cute. You’d be a good project this year.”

I had a beat-up old Renault I drove to and from football games that I didn’t play in. I was wildly unpopular, and I basically thought the entire world sucked.Emery was 18 in 1994. At 6'5,” he would’ve been the star on my school’s basketball team for his height alone. He was handsome, nice... His year was spent living in secret in a house on one of the high lifted hills of Kigali, Rwanda, a few meters from a church that he had hidden in a few weeks before. A church where, had he stayed any longer, he would have been slaughtered.“Every church in Rwanda should be a memorial,” he tells me. “Because every church was a place where thousands of us died. We were told they were safe. They’d be respected. They weren’t.”

One church in the mountains saw 3,000 people murdered. The bodies have never been moved. Nothing exists of the people who died anymore -- no bones, no skulls; it’s disintegrated. The only thing in that church today are the clothes of those dead. The clothes… When I was 16, I had posters of John Elway all over my room. He, in my mind, was a hero -- commanding his offense, running to the left, throwing back to the right 70 yards without breaking a sweat. I wore his jersey everywhere. On my walls were pennants of the schools I dreamed of going to. In Upstate NY those pennants read “SYRACUSE,” “COLGATE,” “CORNELL…

Image: Uwe Langmann @ F-Stop Magazine

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