October – A gun was fired

April 5, 2010


She was 15 when she left home. For a while she lived in boarding houses. Later she moved in with her older sister. She was 15 or 16 when we met. I was in my early 20s. I had just fallen in love with someone else. Maybe it wasn’t love. Lust has a way of clouding one’s sight. And then I had been betrayed. The details aren’t important. If they were, I would have remembered them. October had been a friend, one of a group of people that hung around together. I was in a mess. October took me in from my storm. (Friends would later tell me that they couldn’t believe how long it took us to get together, that October had been crazy about me for some time.) October and I got along well although I was never in love. I should have been. She was a terrific person, lots of fun. We moved in together. After a few months I wanted to break it off. October needed to go into the hospital. I put it off. Her operation was minor but they made a mess of it. She had some kind of warts in her vagina and when they were removing them, they left some acid inside her. She was in great pain after she got out of the hospital and put up with it for a week or several days and then went back to her doctor. They went back in and removed the acid. Something happened when she came out. Sex was the last thing on her mind. I felt guilty for my lusts. It cooled whatever feelings I had. We grew farther apart. Seperated. I went off to grad school. (see September) We got back together again. For another year. One weekend we were invited to her parents for dinner. I found myself in the kitchen alone with her mother. She had a knife in her hand. ‘When was I going to marry her daughter?’ We separated for a last time. She got an apartment above a restaurant that served cakes and ice cream treats. One Saturday evening a group of young men came into the restaurant. They were looking for someone. Or they were robbing the place. I can’t remember the details. A gun was fired. A girl sitting at a table with friends was shot. She died. It wasn’t October. But it could have been. She lived upstairs. And often went down to the restaurant with friends. I wondered how events shaped our lives. What seemed trivial could end up catastrophic. And there was no telling what events were crucial. Or if all events were crucial. Or if there was an cause and effect at all. Perhaps we were destined to go in  a certain direction. All we could do was delay the inevitable. Death seemed that way. Years later I was on a streetcar. Many things had happened to me. I’d gotten married. Had a son. The streetcar was moving up Broadview Avenue. I saw October. She still had her Irish Afro. She still looked the same. I got up from my seat to get off at the next stop. But didn’t. I sat back down. She didn’t need me in her life anymore.

2 Responses to “October – A gun was fired”

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