Suddenly, I am snapped Back

There are times in my life when I am snapped back there, to that tiled hallway that leads to the girl’s locker room, on the way to gym. To that pivotal, critical turning point moment in my life, the moment that could have changed it all, that could have changed the lives of every single person in that brick building, every teacher, aide, and student who entered the safety of those “Big red doors.” For some reason, that is my mental “safe spot.” In the days before my high school became almost unrecognizable with metal detectors and cop cars and who knows what else. The day when the landscape of Susan E. Wagner High School could have changed forever.
I didn’t talk about it at the time. I don’t even think I told my then boyfriend or my friends. I really couldn’t, I was asked not to by one of the deans. I can still see the FUBU jeans hanging off the guy’s backside, the blue and white striped oversized boxers, the black metal pistol tucked into the waist band of the pants, the white shirt as he lifted it to show his buddy. I don’t know why I reacted the way I did, or what was guiding me to do what I did. I continued on my way as if I had not seen anything. I don’t know if the kid even saw that I saw him, but I went through the locker room and right up to the gym without stopping at my gym locker. I think the girls in my class thought I was trying to get out of gym that day. I pulled the gym teacher aside, she was someone I trusted, and told her what I saw.
I went to the deans’ office and found a dean I knew and trusted, we went into his office and closed the door. This was before a male teacher wasn’t allowed alone in an office with a closed door with a female student. This was before every person was afraid of what might be said about opposite genders alone in an office like that. I told him everything I saw, gave a description of the kid, and stayed in the office for the rest of the period.
The kid was intent on shattering the still pristine innocence of an seemingly endless youth that day. I remember after they caught him, I remember the exact words the dean said to me, just as I remember which dean it was. I will always remember that day and that dean, I will always remember that kid. I doubt if you ask him, that the dean remembers it, but I do. The fact that he believed the words of a bright eyed innocent child and they activated the plan the school had in place that no student knows about, without having to enter “lock down mode,” without ever letting another student onto whatever might have happened that day, or whatever this student had planned.
I guess that is why that is my “safe spot” mentally when something tragic happens, why I went back there when my base was on lock down on 9/11, why I went there while waiting on word from a friend stationed at Ft Hood this week, It is how I deal with the worry like that. Because that day had a happy outcome, the peace and tranquility of life was maintained, The innocence people trusted in finding through those Big Red Doors was preserved.

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