The Way He Died

“Wishing for a different past will waste the present.”

This quote is on a neighborhood church billboard. I usually enjoy reading the sign but every time I pass this one I shake my head. I wish EVERY day for a different past on July 26th, 2017. How can my present be wasted when he WAS my present.

Obsession is a 9 letter word. So is quotation. For the last 400+ days I’ve been slightly obsessed with using quotation marks and bold letters to get my point across. It seems to do its job so I’ll continue.

I haven’t been to a Texas Tech football game in two years. A client of mine gave me her tickets to the game on Saturday the 15th so my sister and I went. There was one minor detail I completely forgot about…the gunshots. A few days prior to the game a friend mentioned how her daughter was finally getting used to the gunshots. My eyes got big. My heart started to pound. I immediately started to rethink going. Will I have a panic attack? Will I cry? Will it even phase me? So another friend suggested headphones. As long as I got the buds in my ears in time, they did the job. The fireworks that would go off when Tech made a touchdown didn’t bother me at all, it was the actual GUNshot. Cheryl and I were walking in as the game started and I wasn’t prepared. I jumped. I have a super sweet sister you guys. She checked on me every time to make sure I was good.

This is another “phase” I am working through. Loud noises and crowds. Especially loud noises. Especially ones that sound like gunshots or ARE gunshots. I know I can’t avoid them for the rest of my life. Just hearing the sound brings back the day all over again and I see things I shouldn’t see in my mind. It didn’t help when that next morning I heard gunshots while sitting on the porch at my mom-in-law’s…he wasn’t even gone 16 hours and I haven’t had time to process it. Baby steps Carrie, baby steps.

I had another usual day at the gym, same routine, same crowd. But something seemed off, or different per se. A friend and her son were there. Her son is always so polite and it’s obvious he loves his mom. While I felt happiness for her, it broke my heart. I looked up at one point and I swear I saw a glimpse of Zane, but older, same stance and smile. Maybe I just wanted to see him, I don’t know, but it made me hurt. I missed Zane so much at that moment.

While at a Lubbock Walmart (yuck) I ran into a friend that Joe graduated with from Ropes. We chatted for a moment then went on our way. At the checkout line, I noticed she was in the line next to me. A flashback. I remembered at her Texas Tech graduation party I was pregnant. With Zane. I even remembered what I wore that day…a red and white checkered sleeveless blouse with black capris. Weird. I lost it right there in line. The cashier knew something was wrong but just smiled.

Today is Levelland’s homecoming. It should be Zane’s last one as a senior. Not that I’m surprised but there’s been NO mention about him even though he went to school there his entire life.

“But because of the way he died….”


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