Today’s Prompt is a bit more serious. I generally try not to remember traumatic events in my life; which were way too many for the child I was. If you had a list of what things would be considered traumatic events I’ve probably hit most of them. It’s just something I’ve learned to live with and became a stronger person from.
I had to think awhile, there’s many things people I care about don’t want to recall themselves and there’s also the act of forgiveness; I don’t talk about things that were forgiven, otherwise I feel like a hypocrite. So all I could think of was a night, many, many years ago when I saw a little boy die at the footsteps of a small white house.
My Mother was pretty adamant about us not going out after dark, but being the rebellious 14 year old girl I was I never listened. One night, after she went to work, I left and went walking to town. I no longer remember what my reason was, just that I was walking. I came up over a hill and I saw this kids sneaker in the road and in what felt like a slow motion movie, my eyes went up to a twisted bike, the wheels having stopped moments before, and an old lady standing at her doorstep of a little white house with a boy laid on the concrete.
I stood on the other end of the road frozen. Listening to the three people there talk about how they shouldn’t move him, complaining about how slow it took to get an ambulance there and all the while there was this shoe on the top of the hill and the bike that was frozen in the middle. The little boy couldn’t have been seven or eight, he was still alive while I was standing there, everyone was scared. It was the first time I’d ever seen a dying person and it was a child, near enough my brother’s ages that I’d left alone at home. I waited there, across the street frozen until the lights came rushing from the ambulance, until everyone left the old woman standing there staring at the blood on her doorstep. I thought of my Mother and how she told me not to be out at night and I pulled my coat tighter and I walked home.
It was really dark that night and the boy didn’t have reflectors on his bike. A man decided to drive a little too fast on the road, you can’t see anything on the crest of the hill – neither up nor down, and they collided. The driver, although he left the scene, didn’t get in trouble because the boy was out after curfew without reflectors and the boy didn’t survive the night. Whenever I see kids riding bikes without reflectors I cringe. I put reflectors on my sons little red Little Tykes car even though it has to be manually pushed by me. I’m constantly afraid of drivers at night, afraid of crossing a road without a crosswalk, afraid of my children playing outside without someone watching them.
I tell my children they aren’t allowed out once the street lights are on unless it’s Cody on the porch with the porch-light. It’s been over 15 years and I still remember the walk, sometimes I still dream of little empty shoes. I’m sure the boys Mother told him the same thing and yet he decided, like me, that it didn’t matter; What could really happen?
Sometimes it’s not what has personally happened to you that is the most traumatic, but what you have witnessed that cannot be erased.