A steady stream of tears rushed down the faces around me. A look of shock and terror transfixed the eyes of my friends and family. Just minutes prior, I had been obsessing over my newly treasured baseball cards, but they didn’t seem to matter now. The thoughts of my fantasies had drifted away, as I came to the realization of what had just happened. My best friend’s dad had been killed while serving in the Iraqi war.
Sitting shotgun with my dad behind the wheel, we turned out of the Meijer parking lot headed for home. I had no worries in the world, for I had just finished my first day of first grade. I wasn’t at all stressed or flustered, for I was excited to finally embark on my journey through my elementary years. Reaching our house minutes later, I pushed in the front door entering the room abruptly. A daffodil stained sticky note sitting on the kitchen counter caught my attention. I walked across the room briskly, intrigued by what the note had to say. The words “Come to Peyt’s now” we’re scratched down messily in a deep, blue ink. An eerie feeling came across me, but I was unsure of why. Exiting my front door, I reached the sidewalk, heading west for Peyton’s. Nearing his house, my pace quickened, as I witnessed a cop car sitting idle near the top of his driveway. Becoming more anxious by the minute, I took off into a quick gallop across the neighbor’s lawn. At the edge of his driveway, I met my mom who had arrived prior. Looking up at her with wondering eyes, she broke the news. I stood tall, attempting to appear unfazed. Grabbing onto my mom’s hand for comfort, I held back the tears. Why would this happen to someone?
Some eleven years later, I revisit this gloomy summer night. I think of the events that took place in sequential order, and how my best friend’s life was drastically changed. Revisiting this event isn’t the most pleasing, but helps me remind myself that life is fragile, and that only fools take things for granted. One minute you have everything, and the next, nothing. Taking a closer look into my past, I’ve realized how precious life is, and how easily it can be ruined, altered or disrupted in a moments notice. After experiencing this tragic event of the past, I’ve realized that nothing is set in stone. Anything can happen to anyone at any given moment.
This past weekend in Kalamazoo, acts of terror were committed for no apparent reason. In two consecutive nights, gunman roamed the streets, claiming the lives of innocent civilians. With no motive behind these shootings, my point is strengthened; you can never be sure of what lies ahead.
I’ve come to see that it’s essential that you take advantage of the life you have. I now understand why it’s often preached to take joy in the little things: to laugh, to love, and to live life to the fullest. You can never be certain of what’s around the next corner.