I nor him had ever been in the Vietnam war; However, as he described the story it was reminiscent of stories told to me by my Grandfather who actually had been in the Vietnam war.
I sat there listening intently. I was in awe at the words coming out of his mouth. A lump formed in my throat that I couldn't even begin to attempt to swallow away.
"Man we kicked it out at club Ruby that night. We didn't get into it with anyone it was all good we had a good time. After the club we went to Maxwell's right off of the E-way. It was six of us in the van. As we're riding along I barely had 2 bites of my polish when bam!!
They began to shoot up the van. "Man it sounded like Vietnam."
"They shot over 20 times into the van. Elliot got hit 6 times. Then one of our other guys in the back seat also got hit once. We didn't see anything. It all happen so fast. The craziest part is that I was in the passenger seat. But after leaving the club I was cold and the driver had the air blasting so I was trying to change seats with someone in the back. But no one would switch with me. They even joked around and even threw me a blanket up to the passenger seat. So I could've easily been in that back seat as well."
"The only explanation the police could come up with was that it may have been some type of gang initiation. We were in a Hispanic neighborhood and you know those Mexican gangs you have to kill someone to be initiated."
The only response I could muster was man that's crazy. I mentioned it was so hard to imagine and I had just seen him the week before in the barber shop.
"Man I cut with him every day and have worked with him in different shops for 10 years, so imagine how it is for me. I still can't believe it. It still hasn't even hit me yet."
The subject then turned to his daughter. "Her 5th B-day was yesterday. I stopped by and dropped something off for her, but it just wasn't the same man." I replied "She's the same age as my son and also starting kindergarten next month." He replied back "Man my daughter is only a few years older. So that could easily be me."
As he said that I looked over at Elliot's old barber booth station. I noticed his barber chair was gone. However, they had created a make shift memorial in his honor. They had pictures up along with his obituary and flowers.
Of course still saddened by his loss. Seeing the memorial some how gave me a bit of comfort. I felt like it was great to honor his memory in that way.
If you read my last blog entry "Senseless" I talked about the tragic death of someone I knew Elliot Thompson, that was shot and killed a few weeks ago. The above story is recounted by someone that was there in the vehicle that he was shot in. Well a week prior to hearing the actual story I attended his funeral. Like all funerals this one was definitely a sad one. But for a few reasons this was sadder than most. Perhaps it was because he was still so young (only 31 years of age). Or perhaps it was because he was a young father (his daughter would be 5 this month and starting kindergarten next month). But when I think about it I think that what hit me most was the fact that I have seen myself in his place...Let me explain what I mean when I state this. I am in no way a person that always discusses death. In fact, I don't even fear death. I realize it is something that will eventually happen and nothing I can do will prevent it when it's my time. So in my expect the worse hope for the best mentality, I simply hope and pray I stick around long enough to accomplish a few more things and see all those I love do the same.
However, when I think about death and really get around to answering the question of how and when I think I may kick the bucket, (buy the farm, push up daisies, meet my maker, give up the ghost or whatever death idiom you prefer), its pretty specific. Now I know you shouldn't speak n certain things because of the chance of speaking them into existence. However, as I stated and as we all know death is something that is unavoidable.
But to be real this incident that killed him was something that could have happened to anyone that was driving in that area at that particular time. I for whatever reason see myself going out in a sad unexpected manner such as this. Nothing that I provoked, nothing that I was doing reckless, nothing that was anticipated and I knew was bound to happen. However, I think it would/will be something swift and totally unexpected that will happen much before my time.
I say all that to say that today is barely promised and tomorrow is out of the question. It's a blessing of God that I'm sitting here typing these words. And if I'm here tomorrow to be able to do the same it's even more of a blessing. Life is precious. I enjoy living every single day I get to do so. Although I may see myself going out sudden and perhaps tragically, I pray God has a bigger plan for me, which includes living a long time and seeing my son (and/or future kids) and grand kids grow up and live their lives as well.
However, it's sad that some don't see just how precious lif is and will do things such as take another life. They don't even see how far past the person they're killing it affects. That's someone's father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter, niece, nephew, grandmother, grandfather, grandchild, etc.
For some reason it took me a good while to finally finish writing this blog as it stayed in draft for over a week. Sorry if it's all over the place.
But all I can say is embrace those you love and Live life. There are no guarantees in life except...Death.