It was supposed to be a normal day. Go to class, complain about teachers, kiss Patrick. It was a normal morning. Breakfast, grab a ride with Tiffany, get to school. Nothing had changed. Normal routine, for a sixteen-year-old girl anyway. It was just after lunch. Lunch. It had seemed so innocent.
We had a few minutes until the bell rang, forcing us back to our classes. We were all grouped in hallways, talking and laughing. I was talking to Tiffany. Patrick's arm was around me. I can't remember what we were talking about. I remember that Patrick laughed, and that Tiffany gave me her lip gloss. I remember that Patrick kissed my forehead. I remember Marcus from the football team stopping to talk to Tiffany.
The next thing I know the laughs are gone. Silence reigns. I look around for the cause. There was a boy, I think his name was Jordan, he had a gun. The students were frozen. No one thought to yell for a teacher, and the teacher's were all closed up securely in their rooms, no idea what was going on - what was about to happen. I noticed that Jordan's hands were shaking. Patrick's arm tightened around me as Jordan raised the gun.
I was frozen, but I counted the shots.
A teacher runs into the hallway. Mr. Johnson, teaches grade twelve math.
The PA comes on, ordering students to the cafeteria. Mr. Johnson tries to talk to Jordan.
I feel a jolt, and Patrick is sliding to the ground.
Marcus falls down.
Tiffany's blood is covering my shoes.
I waited for seven. I waited for my turn, but it didn't come. Mr. Newcome, the gym teacher, has tackled Jordan to the ground. The gun is spinning wildly toward the girl's bathroom. I let out a ragged breath. One that I have been holding in.
Everything becomes blurry after that breath. I remember that people were crying, I remember shouting. Sirens. There were a lot of sirens. I remember leaning over Patrick, I remember holding his hand. I touched his face. I was crying. He couldn't cry anymore. I remember Mrs. Jackson coming over, leading me away from his body. I didn't have the strength to fight her, even if I had wanted too. I could only look over my shoulder though.
I thought of Tiffany, of Marcus. I wonder if anyone else had died. They were morbid thoughts, but they were all I could think of. Was anyone else hurt? Was another mother going to have to hear about what happened to her son? Was someone else going to have to be buried before their time? Out of all my thoughts, only one remained constant: Why? Why had Jordan brought that gun to school? Why had he shot it? Why had he shot Patrick? Tiffany, anyone? I didn't know Jordan, but he was quiet kid. He had seemed nice. What would make someone want to hurt a human being like that?
A police officer came to talk to me. I answered the questions as well as I could, my mind growing numb. When he stood up to walk away, I grabbed his arm and demanded to know what had happened to my friend's. Tiffany was in surgery, Marcus not far behind. Shelley Connors wasn't making it home today, neither were Mitchell Parker, nor Patrick Redding.
I was marking papers. A test from the class I had before lunch. It amazed me that I could talk so much and they could still absorb so little, for some of them anyway. I rubbed my balding head and twisted my wedding ring around my finger. Believe it or not, teachers' sometimes get bored with teaching too. I cleaned my glasses on my shirt and stood up. I had a few minutes before my next class. I decided to go across the hall to visit Mr. Matherson. My hand was on the doorknob when I heard the first shot. A student screamed.
I raced into the hallway. Jordan, from my home room had an angry look on his face, he was shaking and pointing a gun at a group of students. I heard the PA above me, telling students to stay clear of the east hallway and go to the cafeteria. I tried to talk to him, "Jordan, you don't have to do this. You can put the gun down, no. One else has to get hurt." I did a quick scope of the hall. Two students were on the ground, heads leaning against the concrete.
Jordan didn't even appear to be listening. I could only watch in horror as the gun discharged again. Patrick Redding is on the ground, his girlfriend watching, hands covering her mouth. "Jordan, this isn't right, you know this isn't right. If there is a problem we can talk about it. Fix it." I tried again, but my panic was showing.
There was another shot and Marcus Bouvier is falling to the ground, reaching out with his hands to try and slow his fall. I am speechless, I can't force any words out. I see Mr. Newcome sneaking around behind Jordan. Please, God, please don't let anyone else get hurt, I prayed. There was another shot and Tiffany Meissner is on the ground at her friend's feet. Mr. Newcome leapt on top of Jordan. I heard the gun clatter to the ground, but I didn't care. I could only feel the helplessness, knowing that I couldn't do anything for these students. I heard sirens in the distance. I could only wait.
As it turns out, we lost three young lives today. Three great people who will never be able to live their life, they will never be able to grow up, fall in love, they will never make it home.
I heard sirens rushing past. I went to the porch, hoping nothing horrible had happened. Police cars and ambulances were rushing to the school. I felt my heart drop. Patrick. What if something had happened to my baby? I wanted to rush to the school, to demand answers, to see him come out, and hug me, insist that nothing was wrong, he was okay.
I sank down onto the deck chair. I could go up, but I would be in the way. I would be in agony here, but I wouldn't be helping anyone if I went up there. I tore myself up over this dilemma as two ambulances went racing by. I prayed. Please God, please help those who were hurt and please bring my Patrick home safe. Please bring him home. Please.
Time flew passed as I sat on my porch, hands clasped in prayer. I was already crying when the officer pulled up in my driveway. "Mrs. Redding?" He asked.
I shook my head. "Please, go away. If you're not here then he's not dead." I looked up at him, begging, "Please."
"I'm sorry." He said.
"If you're not here Patrick's coming home." I stood and grabbed his shoulders. "Tell me he's coming home."
"Ma'am, I'm sorry, your son isn't coming home."
There are many sides to one story, and I was tired of my story being ignored. I was the good kid, the quiet kid, I was the one everyone made fun of. No one noticed me, no one knew me. I wanted it that to change. Needed it to change. I knew at the time it was wrong. I still know that now, but when I saw Dad's gun case unlocked, all I could think was, this is my chance. This is my chance to show them all that they can't just forget me. I took the gun out of the case. This was my chance to tell that story.
I kept the gun in my sweater pocket all day, trying to figure out when to shoot it. I didn't want anyone to get hurt. All I wanted was for someone to realize that I wasn't invisible, but I knew that someone would get hurt. I didn't think of it as strange that I was okay with the thought of causing someone pain. Of killing someone. It was all for the greater good. I didn't have a specific target picked out.
Finally it was lunch. The halls were crowded. Teachers weren't in sight. I walked into the east hall, mostly because I had home room right after lunch. I scanned the crowds. No one stood out at me, but the gun weighed in my pocket. I could almost hear it speaking to me. Now is the time Jordan. Now is the time to make yourself known. I drew the gun and pointed.
I shot. I felt a thrill go through me when someone screamed. I shot again, and saw a girl fall to the floor. I thought I saw movement, but I could care less. I shot the gun again. I heard my teacher's voice carry over the swell of the silence.
"Jordan, you don't have to do this. You can put the gun down, no one else has to get hurt."
Why not? I could shoot more people. It felt so good. It shouldn't, but it did. Someone else had to die. I pointed the gun again, my fingers shaking with excitement, I pulled the trigger. Another boy fell to the ground, Ashley, his girlfriend, watching in horror. I loved it. I felt more alive than I ever had.
"Jordan, this isn't right, you know this isn't right. If there is a problem we can talk about it. Fix it." Mr. Johnson tried again. There was no problem. The problem had ended when I shot my first student. I was just shooting to shoot. I felt so good.
I shot again and another boy fell down, beside Ashley. Then I shot her friend. I was going to shoot her next, how beautiful she would look, blood covering her shirt. I took aim and -
I was knocked over by the gym teacher. I cursed and reached for my gun, my precious gun, but it was spinning away. I was dragged to my feet, controlled by Mr. Newcome, I almost screamed. This is what I wanted to get away from, being controlled, being ignored and told what to do. I fought against him every step of the way to the office, but he didn't care. He was too strong for me.
I killed three people that day. I crippled the last boy I shot, and the girl is the only one who came through with just a scar. I didn't care about their conditions, I just remembered the feel of that gun in my hands, I was just told about them. I would shrug, and the guy who told me seemed angry.
Even after all of this I wish I could change one thing about that day: that less of them made it home.
© Double I 4 My Guyz