24 YEARS AGO TODAY

Note to the reader: This is the first chapter in a memoir that begins with what happened 24 years ago today.

I AM NOT GONE

by

Peter Sanford Kahrmann

“I cannot be awake, for nothing looks to me as it did before, Or else I am awake for the first time, and all before has been a mean sleep.”
– Walt Whitman

I DON’T UNDERSTAND

I am bleeding to death. I am lying on the ground bleeding to death and I do not understand. I was not bothering anybody. I was just going to work, minding my own business. I was not doing anything wrong and now I am on the ground, blood pouring out of my head, dying.

I had a block and a half to go to pick up my cab when I hear the sound of keys behind me and a hand grabs my shoulder and a wild-eyed kid is pointing a gun at my head and saying, “Don’t fucking move.”

I say “I won’t” and look away because I do not want him thinking I will remember his face.

The gun is against my head now and somebody behind me is going through my pockets. I am 30 years old standing on Bergen Street in Brooklyn with a gun against my head and I am waiting for wild floating eyes to hit me on the head so he and the other guy can get a running head start. He does not hit me. He shoots.

I come to on the ground and feel nothing from the neck down. It feels like the top of my head is gone. I open my eyes and I am blind. I cannot see anything. No sight, no feeling from the neck down; I know I am going to die.

I see my daughter Jennifer’s upturned face listening to someone tell her Daddy’s dead and I think maybe if I stand up and die trying to get to the hospital she’ll know I didn’t give up. My seven-year-old angel will know I tried my best. I can leave her on a courage note that way – if I can only get up.

A dark damp blanket tightens around me and I think about how my father died when I was fifteen. I think if he can go from here to there, from life to death, maybe it is okay, maybe dying is not so bad. Now I feel less scared. Now I see smoky shapes and images that make no sense to me. I am bleeding to death on the ground and nothing makes sense.

The smoke clears and I realize I am on the sidewalk on my right side. I see a tree near me.

Now I am standing but I do not remember getting up. I lift my hand to my head and blood hits my hand before it gets there. I pull the sweatshirt from around my waist and press it against my head to stop the bleeding.

Advertisements

YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s