42 Seconds


Everyone drops to the ground in an instant, we're all familiar with the sound of gunfire. We all know the protocol, get low, find cover, protect the kids with your life. We just don't know who's being shot at. A bullet cuts through the speaker and brings the soundtrack of a shooting to an end. I guess they're shooting at us.

It seems like forever, but I know less than a minute has passed. I check on my younger cousin who had rushed to me for safety. He's all good. I check myself, I'm all good. Everyone pulls themselves from the ground and looks to be okay. Shaken up, but no injuries to anyone. Somehow the kids are back to playing as if nothing had happened. Unaware that this moment is going to leave a scar on their lives.

"Oh god, you're hit," my aunt Wanda's voice cuts through the crowd.

We all rush to help whoever has been shot. My Uncle Evan is twisting on the ground, clutching his back. His shirt stained red. Everyone fears the worst. Someone rushes to grab towels and put pressure on the wound until we can get help.

"I ain't shot, I got a charlie horse in my damn side. This is BBQ sauce," Evan says in pained laughter.

Just like that, we're back to partying like nothing ever happened. Unfazed by the violence we just survived. When you've grown accustomed to it, you just move on.

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