A birthday party in Va. for a teen whose torment has ended
Monday, November 8, 2010; 10:07 PM
It seemed like a pretty typical birthday party for a 17-year-old.
Mom let them crank the metal over an outdoor speaker. The birthday boy's favorite meal - chili - was snarfed by lanky boys in between skateboard tricks on the back yard's makeshift half-pipe.
The cake was his favorite - cherry - and the black-purple-bluish airbrushing over the frosting looked way cool.
"He would've liked that," one guest whispered over the birthday song.
The birthday boy is dead. He killed himself five months before the party.
Christian Taylor's friends and family say he was bullied to death, harassed daily until he would rather die than go to school another day.
The grim birthday party was the best way they could find to deal with the horrible way they lost him.
Once a cruel rite of passage embodied by the long-suffering Charlie Brown, bullying has become a huge national issue, with everyone from President Obama to Oprah weighing in on the need to prevent it from destroying young lives.
On the way to Yorktown, I turned on the car radio and heard a talk show about bullying.
"I'm all cried out," Ariel Mullins, 13, told me, after she and others released balloons into the sky at 5:58 p.m. on Nov. 5, the moment when Christian was born 17 years ago.
"I just wish people would finally leave him alone. I hear it in school: 'Did you hear about the Grafton suicide kid?' And I just want them all to leeeeeeave him alone now," Ariel told me.