I am fortunate enough to live in a seemingly peaceful neighborhood that is a suburban setting of well-kept houses. All the homes are nestled close together and feature lush green lawns and tidy landscaping with vibrantly colored flowers and precisely manicured bushes. These homes provide charming living quarters for quite a diverse group of well-meaning and hardworking people. My neighbors are a friendly bunch of people that are quick to give a wave and a smile. This area in which I live is the kind of a place where neighbors often stop mowing grass to chat with another that was simply walking by. I like to think of my neighborhood as a bubble where we are safe and sheltered from the harsh realities of life. Usually, the worst crime in my community is to accidentally not notice a wave from a fellow resident and thereby hurt their feelings. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that the protective bubble of my neighborhood could have been popped by what happened.
It is a routine of mine to ride my bike every day on the smoothly paved roads of my cul-de-sac with my dad and brother. We always ride from my home to the end of the neighborhood where the entrance meets the main road. I have always loved to ride this particular route because of the spacious field alongside the road. This field is very large, stretching from the road way far back to where the eye can barely see. Just when you think the field is going to run that way forever, it is abruptly cut off by a cluster of woods. This field is a sea of pale yellows and gold because the grass has grown wild and dry. If you are riding alongside it at precisely the right time of the evening when the sun has just started to sink below the tree line of the distant woods, then you will behold a glorious sight; its grasses all catching the rays of the faraway sun and turning the field into a thousand different shades of orange. So after I ride to my beloved field I will turn to the other direction and continue on my way home, already looking forward to tomorrow’s bike ride when I will see the splendor of the field again.
As fate would have it on a cool Saturday in early September, I did not ride my bike to the field as I always did at five o’clock in the evening. As much as I love my daily ride, I just didn’t feel like riding at the usual time on this day. I thought it odd of myself that I did not want to ride at this time of day because I did not have a reason in the world to keep me from going. The day was just like any other day and everything and everyone was just as they had always been: friendly, normal, and peaceful. Little did I know that at the same time, just down the road next to the field, a man lay dead from a brutal gunshot to the face. A man carrying a gun had shot him, killing the victim instantly. The shooter also fired shots at the victim’s brother. The assailant then proceeded to steal the victim’s car. A next-door neighbor had heard the shots and called the police. When the police arrived at the crime scene, the suspect was already making his getaway. The police followed him in hot pursuit. The suspect then ditched the getaway car and ran from the police, eventually stealing another car from a nearby home. Hours later the police used tire spikes to stop the stolen car and the suspect surrendered.
A little while later than usual, I decided that I would ride my bike because it would be foolish to waste the beautiful day all because of some feeling I had. So like we always did, my family and I started to ride our bikes to the field. In the distance I could see the flashing of police cars’ lights. I could smell the diesel exhaust from all the emergency vehicles, and I could hear a fire truck’s sirens screaming as it raced down the road to the scene. When suddenly a life-flight helicopter roared overhead as it landed in my favorite field, I knew that something was terribly wrong.
What I learned that day has changed my life. Now I know that looks can be deceiving. Just because one might live in a seemingly safe environment does not mean that it always will be safe. Ever since that terrible event I value my safety and my life more than I ever did before. I came to realize that when it is your time to depart this world it is your time and that each day could be your last.
This piece is a true story that was written by my daughter for her 9th grade Lit class. I have included it here because I am proud of her and because I couldn't have said (or written) it any better. I would love to hear your thoughts!!!