Short story, I don’t know how I feel about it.
My childhood and the things that I saw have scarred me for life. I’m a 28 year old man and I sleep with a gun under my mattress and bullets in a sock right next to it.
Growing up, my family didn’t have all the money in the world. My mom left my father with 4 kids, I guess using heroin was more important. My father took control of the family, he did a good job. It just sucks that I was one of 4 white kids in the Brooklyn neighborhood when I was growing up. The other 3 white kids were my siblings. Lucky guess?
There was a time where I never left the house for an entire summer. I’m the youngest of 4. Back in the day, my oldest sister got to go to high school in Staten Island so she would stay with my dads sister. For some reason, my dad thought that just because we were boys, we would be tougher in this all black neighborhood. It was all my dad could afford, working 3 jobs even. My older brothers were 14 and 12 and would come home with bruises and cuts. I would stay in the bedroom that I shared with my 12 year old brother. I wouldn’t do much except fantasize about my mom coming back and going back to the middle class white neighborhood I had lived in for 8 years. By the time my 14 year old brother was moved out and in college it was just me and my brother who was now 17. I was 14. He protected me the best he could.
I eventually made a friend, his name was Jamal. We did everything together and he would always tell his boys “leave him alone, he’s cool!” and nobody would touch me. More white kids were moving into the neighborhood so I was like…the legend more or less. I was starting to love it….but then it all went downhill.
No doubt, I would hear guns being fired almost every night, someone being robbed or killed but when I was 14, my life changed. This wasn’t just a noise I would hear from a few blocks down when I was sleeping. I was there.
Jamal and I had stayed after school one day, it was a December evening when we had decided to walk back home. He lived just down the block. We had left the school and realized how dark it was. We stayed for extra help for the upcoming math test the next day. We had started to walk when cars sped by us and pulled up a few blocks ahead. We couldn’t see what they were doing or who they were meeting. All of a sudden, we heard gun shots and then a scream. We dove behind garbage cans and tried to hide ourselves. I thought I was dead meat. We realized that two cops were just shot and we were watching a drug deal go down. Jamal, being the good kid that he was, ran over to the cops when the cars sped back off down the street. He even did so much as to get on their radio and report the shooting. Before I even knew what was happening, a car slowly pulled up beside me. I turned over and to my complete and utter shock….it was the car involved in the shooting. “JAMAL!” I shouted. He was sitting in the passenger side of the police cruiser and looked up at me, smiling and giving me the thumbs up. I saw them point the gun at his head and I darted down the alley and jumped over a fence. Shots were fired at me so I guess they think they shot me. I figured Jamal had ducked or something and they thought they had shot him as well. I don’t know, all I heard was shots being fired and then tires screeching down the street. I waited five minutes and then went to go see if the police came yet. When I reached the police cruiser, I saw something no 14 year old boy should see. My best friends head was blown off. His brains were all over the windshield.
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