the guy you heard about on the news, the one you heard about who hit those protestors with his car, the one who will forever be marked as a terrorist and a murderer, he went to my high school.
I’m at a loss for words yet here I am, attempting to compile the way I feel about what I discovered tonight. I can distinctly remember seeing him at school, I remember speaking to him in passing. I do not remember a single detail of any conversation, other than thinking that he occupied the “gentle giant,” role in my mind. I seem to remember him being a very quiet guy who, when spoken to, was kind and shy. The issue with this description I’m jumbling together from terrible memory is that I do not know any of it for sure. This is a problem.
I am not under the train of thought that you should know the ins and outs of everyone in your school, that’s not what I’m saying.
What I AM saying is that I don’t think I can remember one instance where I saw him with someone else, where I saw him laughing with friends, or where I saw him even talking to people. The only (albeit faded) memories I have of him are seeing him alone and I did nothing to fix that.
I know what you could be thinking, that I’m making such a senseless act by someone I vaguely know about myself and how I feel about it. I don’t want to come off that way. What I’m trying to explain is the inescapable thought I’ve been fighting for the last several hours, that maybe had I been a better friend, or even a friend at all, maybe things would have happened differently or not happened at all. Maybe had I taken a step outside my own circle of friends and made a friend out of the seemingly lonely, quiet kid I saw in the hallways, maybe he wouldn’t have killed that person; Maybe he wouldn’t have driven his car with the intent of maiming civilians; Maybe he’d be in a better place.
I know this isn’t fair to lay on myself, I know this is going to resonate heavily with some readers. I want everyone reading this to take ONE thing away from this post, please open your eyes. I promise you do not know what’s going on in someone else’s life. I promise you can’t see past the exterior they’re fronting, no matter how hard you try from afar. I promise there is no better way to change the world around you than to be a friend to everyone God has placed around you.
I had a chance to change this kid’s life.
I had a chance save his life.
I had a chance to save other people’s lives.
I missed my shot.
Will you miss yours?