Under cover of darkness, three shots ring out. For most on that city block, it goes unnoticed. Just another benign sound in their world.
Mother gasps when I refer to it as the “ghetto”. Forty years she’s lived within these narrow walls. She follows her routine like any other day.
Weekdays filled with quietness and dim light. Saturday a standing 10am “Hair appointment”, where she’s curled and teased, then sprayed solid.
Sunday is church at 8am with its dwindling membership.
All the neighbors she use to know are gone. Either moved away or had death claim them. Yet she remains, only remembering the yesterdays. For the “Today’s” are growing much harder to live.
Blind in her faith as well as her sight, the shots from the night before have gone unheard. Not seeing that two of the shots had entered her home.
Three panes of shattered glass go unseen, but not unheard, tiny tempered glass fragments fall to dance upon a wooden floor. When opening the front door more glass falls to crunch under foot.
Unable to see the destruction, it’s hard for her to rationalize.
It was purely by chance that we drove up for a visit that day. A simmering sense of urgency had me in its grip for hours. Upon arrival the reason for the anxious trip was plain to see. If not for our visit, how long would this have gone unnoticed?
Sadly, for mom, the realization that the “ghetto” had entered her domain.
For someone who fights like a mother tiger to keep her privacy, this event not only shattered glass, but took her security with it. There it lays in a million little pieces.
For a daughter and granddaughter, this was very hard to experience. Our hands began to tremble and eyes mist over with the terror of the situation.
I long ago took my children and left this hateful city. We’ve grown use to small town life. Where murders are rare and people speak of the weather or the price of gasoline as main topics. A place where people don’t put bars on windows and triple locks on all the doors. A place where a person can walk their dog after dark and feel safe.
I knew there’d come a time when the outside world would enter Mom’s sanctuary and it has…
Leaving all of us a bit shattered as well.
© January 2008