Positioned just low enough to touch, it has become common for Addie Elam-Lewis to see her son run his fingers across it before the Palm Beach Dwyer High senior leaves for school.
Elam, one of the nation's highest-ranked football players in the Class of 2010 and a University of Florida oral commitment, will make his college choice officially in February.
It will end a process that coaches often say is the most important moment for sought-after athletes such as Elam.
But for an 18-year-old who has seen two siblings murdered, it will be just another step in moving away from memories of a painful past.
"It's going to be a big day, but I've definitely seen things in my life that weighed on my mind a lot more," Elam said. "When you lose family like that, it makes everything else seem small."
Elam-Lewis' voice grows soft when she talks about that Monday afternoon in January 1999 that changed her family forever.
Everything around her Riviera Beach home was normal. Matt's brother Abram, then 17, was doing homework. Matt, 8, and Christina, 12, huddled next to the television.
Christina later left the house to go to Monroe Heights Park, barely two blocks away.
About 30 minutes later, a neighbor pounded hysterically on the front door. He said a girl had been shot at the park.
Abram and Matt sprinted out the front door.
When they arrived at the park, they saw their sister's body bloodied from a bullet that pierced her arm and stomach.
Christina was a victim of random violence. She had been shot while she sat in a car with two friends, after a 20-year-old man opened fire to seek retribution for an after-school fight between his sister and another girl, according to newspaper accounts at the time.
Though Christina's killer later would be sentenced to 30 years in prison, it did not give Matt any comfort. Her loss would not be the only tragedy he experienced in his young life.
The youngest of five children born to Addie and Donald Elam, Matt took advantage of being the baby in the family.
"He got away with more than the other kids," Elam-Lewis said of the son she described as stubborn and strong-willed. "I was 42 when I had him, and I don't mind saying I was a little tired by then."