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Photo by English106 via Flickr

It’s almost ten in the evening, I haven’t been home long and I still have to empty the cat box before going to bed, but I think I need to write this down. I haven’t told anyone I know yet, but this afternoon at about 3:35 or 3:40, I was on a bus with a lot of other people when we heard gunshots. About four gunshots close by. I don’t know why I looked out the side window behind me, but I did and I saw an angry young man’s face. He came closer to the bus and I ducked down like everyone else around me, some on the floor, all of us with our bodies close together, huddling and not knowing. I heard the angry man hit at the side of the bus probably with his fist, as we went past, and afterword some of the teenagers on the bus said they thought someone was aiming at someone else across the street and the bus got in the way. We were all lucky that none of us were hit either.

When we felt it was safe, those of us who had been seated straightened up again, and some of the men helped a couple of women up off the floor. The bus driver yelled out to see if everyone was okay. The teenagers got loud with their reactions, some laughing, and I became strangely aware that I was staring into space. Maybe all of us who were quiet were doing the same thing, I don’t know. I tried to turn my head and focus on something, but I just stared into another point of space. I was aware of the people around me and something about where we were, but I also felt oddly blank, unimportant and pointless, like I couldn’t do anything or control anything. I stared for a long time, and I felt stupid.

Other things that I’d rather not talk about here, happened today that reinforced that feeling of lacking control, but tonight while I was washing a couple of dishes at my kitchen sink and beginning to cry, I remembered that I could write this down.


2 thoughts on “Gunshots

  1. That sounds like a frightfully jarring experience and I completely understand your reaction. When I was living in Douglas Park I had a similar near-crossfire experience, though I didn’t hear shots until after I ran to the train station as fast as I could. The two angry teenagers, one behind me and one across the street, started out cursing each other in an almost joking way, but it got serious very quickly… in broad daylight at that!

    Part of me feels that sense of helplessness when I am in that situation or hear about it. I still live in a rather rough hood now and the thought of seeing a gun or two during my stay here has crossed my mind numerous times. It gives me shivers facing the reality that I am mortal, after those blissful teenage years when you simply imagine yourself as invincible and are more prone to listening to your headphones while walking down a dark street.

    Yet there’s a part of me that always thinks about the lives of those who hold the guns, and wonders what it was about their upbringing, their environments that lead them to that moment at the trigger. There are lots of obvious explanations for it, but my theory for almost every problem with humanity is a lack of instilled/nurtured curiosity. If you are not constantly redefining the edges of your world and discovering new sources for knowledge, hope and love, than you are just left in whatever box has been made for you. Unfortunately for some it is a very violent box.

    Maybe I’m still a bit naive for this, but when I think about all the people in the world who are sharing information, seeking knowledge, mentoring kids and generating hope, and how I have been blessed with enough curiosity to realize I have a choice between a life like that and a life with a gun, a feeling of empowerment replaces the helplessness a little more quickly every day.

    Anywho, thank you for your post, and inspiring me to write so much on a pretty Sunday morning!

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