By Morgan Zellmer
You need to get over it. That’s what I’m always told; God forbid, that I have PTSD from 7th grade. God forbid that I sit in my room thinking about killing myself because of what happened. I replay every single moment from that day, the trial, and the sentencing. The record of my life, now broken and scratched because of that day, can’t be replaced or repaired and has damage on the outer rings in the shape of the ghost of bullets that could have been. The sound of my life covered by static up until 7th grade.
That day, I didn’t want to go to school. But I did anyway. God do I regret it now. Luke sat behind me on the bus that morning; he showed the gun to his friend (who I won’t name for his own sake). I was so close to it…I could’ve reached behind the seat and touched it. The worst part is, his friend didn’t tell anyone… HOW CAN YOU NOT SAY ANYTHING?! How can you just sit at the assembly and in your class, knowing that your friend had a gun in his bag?! I wouldn’t be traumatized if you had just said something!
After the assembly that morning, Luke was late to class; when he did walk in, that’s when it all went wrong. He walked in purposefully, slamming his stuff on the small table that held our assignments for the day. I sat at the table nearest to the door that led to another classroom; I’ve long forgotten whose class it was.
He pulled out the gun from his accordion folder.
I didn’t notice until Ms. MacDonald was telling all of us to get by the wall; trying desperately to get Mrs. Spring’s attention. Finally, Mrs. Spring noticed; she was unusually calm, like she didn’t have a gun pointed in her face.
“Looks like someone’s having a bad day,” she had said. A small click filled the silence of the room.
When I was a kid I used to shoot guns with my dad all the time. I know almost every part of a gun and I knew that sound meant he just tried to shoot Mrs. Spring, but the safety was on. I’ve replayed that moment so many times in my head; every time it has a different ending. Sometimes it ends with blood spilling out on the floor; other times I imagine that it never happened. Nonetheless, Mrs. Spring took him out into the hallway and to the Counselor’s Office. Nobody said a word - we were all frozen in place. The only thing I remember is that Zoe came over to me and held me while she cried.
Watching Mrs. Spring leave was terrifying. In my head, I kept screaming for her to come back not leave us alone in that room. I listened intently, waiting for a gunshot, I wanted to see her to know that she was alive. The shot never came though, it was so quiet, you could hear a pin drop, save for a few sniffles from those of us who were crying our eyes out. We stayed in our places against the wall for what felt like forever, but it was only two or three hours at max.
Soon counselors filed into the room with therapy dogs, and once the police arrived, we were allowed to call our parents to come to pick us up. I called my mom, but I didn’t explain much over the phone; other than the fact a kid brought a gun to school and I was in the classroom. When she got there, I walked outside and over to her car. We didn’t say a word, but as soon as I shut the passenger door, she burst into tears. I started crying with her because, not only was I scared, but I’ve rarely seen my mom cry, especially that much. She had to go back to work after that, but my nana took me to Target to have a fun girls' day until my parents were off work.
Nothing was ever the same after that day though. My emotions were totally out of whack, I got into fights with my dad every day (funny enough I still fight with him over the same stuff), and my softball team even kicked me off because I wasn’t acting like I used to. My dad has tried hundreds of times to get me to shoot guns again. He always uses the excuse that I used to love shooting. Used to. That’s the key phrase. I don’t like to anymore because of what happened, but that doesn’t matter to him. What matters to him is, "You need to get over your fear.” What a joke.
It’s always the same thing. “You need to move on,” and “you can’t let this define you.” My question is: how can I? I mean, it happened five years ago, but that doesn’t mean I can just forget about it. I can’t forget about it, especially hearing it all the time on the news. This school had a shooting, this school had a gun pulled, blah, blah, blah. Yet no one ever seems to care to do something about it. People ask for stricter gun laws, but everyone overlooks it and says that nothing is wrong because this is America. Home of the brave. More like home of the feared. Home of the hundreds of dead bodies that litter the school hallways. Home of the hundreds of families who have had to mourn their kid’s deaths because nobody cared enough to stop gun violence.
It’s even worse, walking through the halls and hearing younger kids who never knew what happened that day. They say stuff like, “I’m going to shoot up the school tomorrow.” Their friends just laugh but to people like me, who hear those words, all I can think about is what classes I’ll have and what my best escape is going to be if that kid stays true to their word. Sitting in my classes counting the amount of exits in that one room. Hearing the announcements come on and wondering if they’ll announce there’s a shooter in the school. Jumping at the sound of someone knocking on or pulling the doorknob, wondering if death has finally come for me.
So no, I won’t forget about this experience. No matter how many people tell me to move on. I won’t. This was a big thing in my life and it’s difficult to move on from it. I will always carry that day with me; it’s my choice to move on from it and right now I can’t. Maybe one day I will, but that will be on my terms. Nobody is going to make me forget about it, and if they do? I’ll keep it with me for longer. I won’t just magically forget about it and say that I’m all better.
Breaking News: Luke Andrews Sentenced to Jail for 5 Years
Maybe now I can start to let go.