I can remember the morning I woke up with the sun streaming in through the window making me feel refreshed. I remember feeling nervous and slightly anxious because that day was the day I would meet Ian’s parents. I dressed in a casual, dressy green long-sleeved button down shirt with straight legged black jeans. I went down stairs and saw my mother sitting down at the dining table with the phone lying loosely in her grasp.
“Mom?” I reached out to her, gently placing my hand on her shoulder. She looks up at me and tears slid down her sickly pale face. “Matt, I am sorry.”
I can remember wondering what she was talking about, what did she mean, why was she apologizing to me.
“Mom, what are you talking about?”
She hesitated than took a deep breath, “Your friend, Ian, is in the hospital.” “What happened?” I asked as my energy slowly drained away and felt my stomach twist with knots. Ian is in the Hospital?
“On his way home, Ian was shot,” her voice trailed off.
What? Who would do that? Ian is a good person… why? “What hospital is he in, mom?” I said as I was trying to hide the emotion in my voice.
Her eyes glazed over with concern, “Do you want me to take you?”
“Please…” I pleaded.
My mother and I arrived at the hospital.
I saw a few of the people I had met the night before hanging around in the hallway. They saw me and grimly smiled.
“Hey, do you know his condition?” I asked, hoping they had some news.
“No, he is still in surgery. He has been in there since last night.”
“Since last night?” I frowned.
“His parents are over there,” he said pointing in their direction.
“Oh, thanks,” I started over and began to feel as if my body was made of lead.
“Hello, I am Ian’s Friend, Matt.” I introduced myself.
“Oh, hello. It is nice to finally meet you,” his mother sniffed. His dad stood up and shook my hand.
“Ian is still in surgery, the doctor’s haven’t said anything to us yet. He told us in the nicest way possible to prepare for the worst.” He looked at me and patted my back gently.I tried to remain strong but I knew everyone was in an emotional wreck.
The light went out from the ER and everyone went silent; we all watched the door as if time had completely stopped. The doctor walked out and looked grim.
“I’m sorry but we couldn’t save him. He lost too much blood and the bullet was deeply embedded.” As the doctor continued talking, one by one each person continued to break down and cry. His parents, my mother and I stood there staring at the doctor like he was telling some story that he happened to make-up on the spot.
“Can we see him?” I asked while holding Ian’s mother’s and my mother’s hand.
“If that is what you want, yes.” The doctor led the four of us into the ER.
On the Surgery table Ian’s body lay covered with a sheet. I felt the tears pushing behind my eyes.Their hands tightened on mine and his dad walked closer to the table; a loud sob escaped him and his shoulders shook with sadness. I let go of mom and Ian’s mother’s hands and walked over to him. I gently pulled the sheet down and looked at Ian’s serene face. The tears now broke free and all the emotions I tried to hold back came forth. “I love you, Ian. I really do.”
His dad put his hand on my shoulder and squeezed it gently.
What am I going to do now? Ian is gone and I feel as if I am missing half of myself. Everything seems dull and broken. The four of us left the ER and they sat down.
I walked over to the group of Ian’s friends, “Hey, do you guys know what happened?”
One guy stepped forward with a sad look on his face. “Yeah I do.” He paused and then continued as if he were holding back his own tears.
“Ian received a call saying someone needed help and he sent us a message saying he was going to see us later; he told us where he was going.” Again he paused. “ A few of us went to that spot but when we got there someone shot him than ran off. We didn’t get a clear look at who he was…” Tears slid down his face and I patted his shoulder.
“Ian knew what he was doing was dangerous. He told me that he did this because you guys didn’t really have anyone else but him.” I smiled sadly.
“Oh, really?” A deep voice growled. “That means it was someone we all knew.” He stood up straight from leaning against the wall and walked toward the small group that was slowly surrounding me.
“Yeah, it does. But you shouldn’t seek him out because Ian would not have wanted that. The police are the only way,” I stated more to myself than to them.
“Yeah,” a few people muttered under their breath. From the way we were all acting, standing there stiff in the shoulders, with anger and sadness burning our souls; I knew we needed to find that person even if Ian wouldn’t have wanted it.
What should I do? At that time standing there, surrounded by Ian’s friends, I could feel the high emotions in the air and I knew that they wouldn’t listen to the words “no” or “do not”. Even I wanted to do something to the thing that did this to Ian… But he wouldn’t want that, right?
“You all will still look for the thing that did this even if I said no? Even if you all know that Ian would not have wanted you to do that?” I asked while trying to stop the smile that was beginning to form on my lips. I sighed when I saw the determination in these people’s eyes. “Let me know how it goes and if you find him,” I turned away. “Please…” The guy with the deep voice smiled and patted my shoulder, “Don’t worry so much; I will call you and let you know when and where.”
I smiled; I was happy. I didn’t want this to stop Ian’s spirit from departing this world. I will take all responsibility if anything goes against their plan.
I went to where my mother was sitting and gently touched her shoulder. She lifted her bowed head and gave me a heart-shattering smile. I gave hugs to Ian’s parents with tears staining my eyes; we all said our goodbyes.
As time passed by, I worked hard in completing my education. I graduated from High-school and got into a good college. I decided to start helping others as Ian had done. Days turned to months and months turned to years. My body and mind still longed for him. I felt as if that would never change.
Three long years later
I can remember that I was still feeling the pain of loosing Ian and had lost the hope of finding that murderous thing. I had stretched out in bed within my dorm room and let out a big sigh. I pulled out the book the professor had recommended his students to read and flipped through its pages, lazily. The dorm phone rang, slightly startling me. I looked at the time, 2:27 am…. Who would call a student at this hour? A little irritated, I answered, “Hello? Who is this?”
I recognized that deep voice as a friend of Ian’s. He said the words I have been waiting years to hear. “We found him. Are you coming?”
Within that moment all the old feelings and new feelings bubbled up. I already had known what I would and wanted to do. Nothing was going to stop me. I was going to end this.
“Yes,” I didn’t hesitate.