I’m just a kid, 16 ½ years old. The half year matters. I’m getting older. I play b-ball and f-ball at Park View High School and can palm a ball. I like rap, rhyme and rhythm. I’m kind of square. I hang with great kids, no h8ers, and I’m blessed that they seem to like me. My Mom and Dad are fine. My Dad’s white and my Mom’s black. So I’m like President Barack although I’m Caleb and my parents are race-reversed. Like a verse I’d rehearse. I’m a person of color but don’t feel I’m treated differently.
We live in a nice home. The other homes on Pullman Court are like ours - all nice - very much the same.
My friends joke I’m “black Irish” -- so we’re going out tonight – to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. It’s quiet in my house so I’m going to sneak out now, and go out with my friends. I kind of know better. But my parents must have done the same when they were my age. Huck Finn did this kind of thing. Right?
We are laughing, going to a party, and got some beers to drink. I’m feeling like what must be kind of drunk, having a swimming, spinning, swooning feeling like my head or my consciousness is pulling away and then coming back again, and that feeling you get when you drive over the top of a steep hill too quickly – and your stomach’s out of its rightful orbit.
It’s enough. We’re going home now. It’s after 2 in the AM. I can almost feel that soft pillow – if I can get back in the house without getting in trouble.
We’re trying to figure out in the dark which is my house from the rear yards. My friends are helping – not that much. We found a window unlocked. I’m home free. In a few minutes, I’ll be tucked in, dead to the world.
My steps are unsteady. My hands are free to steady myself – like the way I’ve felt sometimes in the third quarter when I’ve needed water, suffered from dehydration, and it’s not like that either.
There’s some guy in the hallway on the way to the stair well between me and my room. He’s acting all upset. He looks familiar. Do my parents have a house guest? Who is this guy? Why is he up and no one else is? Why is he upset? He’s waving his arms.
What was that noise? Was that a gun? I’ll just run past him and get to my room, get to bed, and sleep. I’ll be safe then. If I’m in my room, then maybe no one will realize I was out at all, if I can get out of my street clothes fast enough. I’ll just run up to my room.
What is that loud thundering sound? The sound hurts. Was that a gun? God, I’m being pushed so hard and fast on my left shoulder, did I shout, it’s breaking me, twisting me, knocking me down, like no pain I’ve ever felt when shoved roughly while fighting for rebounds. It’s coming through my shoulder, through me. My heart! The pain. My chest too. They hurt so. I can’t breathe. I feel faint, cool in the face, and this warm wetness washing over my chest. What’s happening to me? What has he done to me? Who is he? Did he do it? He’s behind me. I can’t turn to see. Are those more gun shots? I’m losing consciousness, have to break my fall. So fast this is happening, and yet seems so slowly happening like to someone else. I want to stay awake, not to sleep. But there’s this unimaginable mind-numbing suffocating pain.
Now there is nothing.
I sense silence, calm, and an absence of any feeling at all.
This must be a dream.
If I could describe it, it’s like I’m in some mid-distance between the window I entered and the sun door I’m entering.
I just know I’ll wake up any moment.
Like through a mist, I see or feel my parents holding each other and crying. Men are coming, reassuring them, to no good effect.
Does this have to do with me sneaking out for the night? Was this my bad?
I hear words spoken of warning shots and .40 caliber bullets … that there were more shots aimed at me. At me?
They say I was in someone else’s home, one lot away from mine; that’s not right; that was my home
I’m having a waking nightmare.
I think I see my body on a shiny metal table torn apart, the left side a grizzly blood-stained mass, things not in their right place, and sense my parents want to see me – what was me – my body – what’s left - but no one will let them.
If only someone would speak for me, say what happened tonight – so everyone could know.
No worry. Soon I’ll wake up. It’s what we all talked about at school, how those 20 elementary school students were killed in Connecticut, that’s what has me dreaming this, that and the drink. Such a thing could never happen in Loudoun!