June 24, 2011

Man With A Handgun

After dinner on Wednesday night, my best friend and I spontaneously decided to take an evening stroll. Little did we know we were in for one of the scariest experiences of our lives. Taking a typical route in the sleepy neighborhood where we both live, we were dishing on the things that we normally conjecture about -- relationships, jobs, food, et al. About ten minutes into the walk on a quiet side street, we spot an SUV parked haphazardly in front of a house, the passenger door open, with a man lying on his back, knees bent, seemingly still. We look at each other, and wonder aloud if we should check on him.  I walk around the car to the man on the ground and ask, “Are you okay?” Confused and out of it, he replies, “Yeah . . .” at which point he reaches beside him and picks up a large handgun which is laying beside him. (Yep, you read right.)

Before I can see what he does with the gun, I turn away, heart pounding, sweat surging from my pores, and my friend and I walk away as quickly as possible.  Every stride I take, I am expecting to feel a bullet in my back.  As soon as we reach the cross street, which feels more like three hours than 30 seconds, I spot a man mowing his lawn and sprint toward him, blurting out in a hushed voice, “There’samanovertherewithaGUN.” He lets go of his lawnmower, which rolls into the road, and darts to his cell phone that is sitting on his front stoop.  He calls 911 and then hands the phone over to me so I can provide the details – color/make of car, street name, color/detail of house, color/make of car in garage of house he was parked in front of, the upturned can of Rockstar strewn beside him, etc.

Grateful for an above-average visual acuity at this moment, it occurs to me that you just never know when you’re going to have to describe a man with a handgun. Riddled with fear and adrenaline and relieved by the sound of sirens in the distance a few minutes later, my friend and I continue our walk in the opposite direction. I am not dead, I soon realize. We are not dead. (And I learn later that the man with the gun isn’t dead, either, thankfully -- although perhaps he is not feeling so thankful.)

I am a strong believer that every experience we undergo in life – whether good or bad – has the potential to make us better, stronger, more compassionate human beings. Though coming upon a man with a handgun was nothing short of frightening – and the last thing I would’ve expected on an evening stroll in June – the aftershock of it granted me the stark realization that being alive is not only precious, but being alive and happy, and more importantly, being alive and happy with people in your life who you love and who love you, is the most precious of all. (I’ve also come to the realization that people who drink Rockstar will forever frighten me.)

1 comment:

Zinn said...

Oh my gosh, that's so scary!!!
I think about all the times that I've wandered around by myself. Or even just with my boyfriend! Sooo scary :S :S