August 2, 2014
Friends draped arms across one another’s shoulders and swayed as they listened to Forrest Allen sing. Some joined in softly, not wanting to drown him out. Some blinked back tears.
They never expected him to survive the accident. They knew the effort it took that afternoon for Forrest to sing each note — just audible, even with a microphone — as his music therapist played keyboard next to him. His brother steadied Forrest with a hand to his back; with so much of his skull missing, a fall could be deadly.
Forrest stopped in the middle of “Lean on Me.” He grinned at the graduation-party guests gathered on the lawn of his family’s home in Virginia horse country. “You guys aren’t singing!” he teased. They laughed, and raised their voices along with his.