This past Fourth of July started off as normal as could expected for the year of 2020. Except it turned into a nightmare that my therapist strongly urged me to write down. Sarabeth assured me it would help, and a friend said it would be like purging. I want to get past this. Forgive me for any grammatical or spelling errors, as I did not go back and proofread this.
I just took a moment of silence to reflect on a very horrific thing I witnessed exactly a week ago on 9:33 on the quiet and peaceful morning of Fourth of July. It was an experience that shook me to my core, and one that is incomparable to anything else I’ve ever witnessed.
I was being cranky that morning at home. For some reason or another I just wasn’t feeling very patriotic, even though Fourth of July is my second favorite holiday behind Halloween. I was upset that everything was going to be closed this year because of the stupid pandemic that I still can’t believe is still a thing. I wanted to go to the park and eat junk food and listen to the hokey jamboree band and keep the kids out late to gaze at the fireworks.
But, you know, COVID-19 and paranoia and all that. Sorry America, your birthday party’s gonna suck this year.
Sarabeth said she was going to take the kids for a walk before it got too hot. Not wanting to be a killjoy, like I was already being, I said I’d tag along. She asked me not to go because I was being a jerk, but I insisted. It was Fourth of July, damnit! We were going to celebrate it like one big frickin’ family. This was, of course, the first step that led to the horror I was about to face. It was probably around 9:15; eighteen minutes before the world darkened significantly.
We walked down Kennedy St. to see if Wolverine, the neighborhood cat was out. He was, and the kids pet him for a couple of seconds before Sarabeth urged them to move along. Usually we let them pet her for a few minutes, but not this time. We unknowingly had just about seven minutes left of calm and peace before everything changed.
“Let’s go down one more street,” Sarabeth said. One more street. I wanted to turn down Franck Avenue, just before the firestation. The firestation I mentioned in my article about the tranquil quiet little street of Frankfort Ave. Alongside the entire road were volunteers who had woken up early to clean up the sidwalks and pick up trash and tend to the flowers. What sweet and good people to give up their Saturdays to help make our community a better and safer place.
Only, it wasn’t so safe for all of them.
I relinquished, because I was enjoying the walk. I would have been happy to go down several more streets; it was such a beautiful morning. I was walking just slightly in front of the kids and Sarabeth, I think, when I was thinking about how lame it was that Frankfor Avenue held an Easter parade each year, but not a Fourth of July parade. How fun it would have been if there were floats and beeping buggys and large crowds of people waving to their neighbors’ kids in the marching bands.
At this point we were just nanoseconds from everything changing. And I’m struggling with writing it down because that means I have to willingly go back there in my head. I’m not ready to do that right now. I’m stopping here for now.