He Had A Gun. I Drove For My Life

Christmas Day 1999, Small Town, USA.

I grew up in a sleepy little town. The town was on one side of the road and the railroad tracks owned the other side. The population was around 1500 back then. Everyone knew each other or they knew your “people”. More than once a complete stranger would ask me if I was a Glassco. Our dark eyes weren’t easy to forget.

I left my home in 1998. I moved to the city. I couldn’t be there anymore after the death of my boyfriend. I needed a new start. I came home often. I missed my family and friends. I loved Nashville though.

I was home for Christmas. I had gone to a late movie that night with a friend. I was in the next town. I left the movie theater and dropped my friend off. There wasn’t anyone in town. It was unusually warm from what I remember. It was sometime after 11pm. I had my sunroof open and my windows down. I was in my world where it was safe. I got caught by every red light in town. I’d sit there enveloped in one of my daydreams. That was until I stopped at the next red light.

I noticed a car coming to a stop on my right. It was the first car I’d seen on the four lane road since I left the movie. I glanced over out of habit. There were four guys in the car. One looked familiar. I waved at them. It’s something I do. It’s common in the sticks to give a finger wave to the complete stranger that you meet on the roadway. It’s just a country thing I guess.

I quickly realized I didn’t know any of these guys. They started yelling. I politely smiled as the light turned green. I got to the next light and of course it turned red. They were beside me. They kept yelling at me to pull over. I shook my head and said no. I rolled up the windows. The light turned green and I drove. The yelling continued as we drove to the next light. This time when the light caught us my stomach turned. The driver was hanging out of the window. He yelled “Pull the Mother F*ckin car over now.” I held my breath. I could see movement out of the corner of my eye. The passenger in the back pulled a gun from his jacket and waved it around as he ordered me to pull over.

This is the part where I realized what it meant to “bring a knife to a gun fight”.

I look at the red light and floored my brand New Plymouth Neon. I closed the sunroof and then put both hands on the steering wheel. I had the pedal to the floor. I knew I was in trouble. I know cars. They had a much bigger engine and they would catch up quickly. They flew up beside me. I topped the hill at 120 mph. That was as fast as she would go. Did I mention this was a 30 mph zone? I prayed to get pulled over or see another car. All I saw were tail lights as they blew past me.

I knew what was coming. They were going to force me to stop.

They got over in my lane and hit the brakes and locked it up. The rear end of their car went left the right. When the rear end went left again the car turned sideways in front of me. I had let off the gas to anticipate their next move. They were sideways so I put the pedal to the floor and hit the turn lane. The driver couldn’t correct the spin. The car wrapped around a telephone pole as I watched and flew past them. I couldn’t breathe.

I did 120 mph for the next 7 miles. I was terrified that they were coming after me. I wasn’t rational. The car was demolished. I went straight to the police station but no one was there. I went home. I stayed in my car for and hour. I was shaking. I wouldn’t go inside until I knew my family was safe.

I laid there in the dark the rest of the night. I finally closed my eyes at first light. Things like this weren’t suppose to happen close to home. I didn’t know these guys. Why did they want to hurt me? I was a good person. I even felt bad that I left them in the wreckage. They pulled a gun on me. They wanted to kill me or worse. Christmas Day has never been the same. The magic is lost for me. He could have pulled the trigger at the red light. I was 22 years old. Bad things happen and open your eyes to the depravity of some. I got lucky one Christmas night. My gift was life. I drove like hell to keep it.

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Straight Outta Feels

I’ve done so much soul-searching this summer. I’ve made major life changes. My eyes are wide open. I don’t like some of the things I see. I’ve turned a blind eye to entirely too much debauchery. I’m done.

I’m straight outta feels. Take notice.

I refuse to be used. I am not anyone’s whipping girl. I will not go out of my way for people who never give me a second thought. I will not comfort you in hard times when you forsake me during mine. No more giving to those that only take. It’s over. I’m not a doormat. I am a human being. I have thoughts and feelings. I am kind and I have talent. I am a writer. If you can’t read my stuff that saddens me especially if I wrote something for you.

Just kick me in the chest instead. Ignoring an offering of my soul is betrayal. 

If you aren’t here for me then leave me be. I don’t need to be mislead into thinking people care when they don’t. My limited time online has shown me the truth of who is really here for me.  Samara Speaks recently got booted from Facebook. She learned the same truth I’m rambling about. Being forgotten sucks. When you aren’t around to serve a purpose you disappear from people’s lives.

Sometimes I feel like I’m a figment of my imagination. The actions of others make this reality. 

Here’s my reality. I live and I breath. I stumble and fall. I’ve worked hard to take my life back. I let myself fade away for three long years. I was lost. I know what I’ve done and I carry that guilt. I don’t need any reminders. It’s not been easy. I’ve clawed my way back to being a functional adult with a dysfunctional mind.

Don’t steal my damn thunder. It’s my storm and I rode it out. 

I’m not asking for a pony because I got my life together. I am demanding respect. If you didn’t live my life then you don’t know what it’s been like and you will never understand. Judge me and hate me if you wish. Your opinion of me is none of my business. My opinion of myself is all that matters. I’m proud of myself. It’s a pity that others aren’t. The truth is it only drives me to prove people wrong.

Don’t underestimate me. I’m far more powerful than I even knew.

Between The Stars and The Sea of Tranquility 

There is no wrong 

There is no right

Only stars shinning in the night

To be among the stars in the full moonlight unable to tell which one shines so bright 

Gaze into the heavens and forget about your plight

Is your love under the same moonlight under the stars that shine so bright

Are they lost and hurting like you underneath that same full moon

Among the stars is where I’ll be searching for you feverishly

Have you gone away and left me be cause there is no freedom meant for me

When you see the moon do you think of me or have the stars gotten in your way

In the sea of tranquility I find peace

Where are you my love why have you forsaken me?
  

The Aftermath

Today marked one month since everything changed. Wednesday June 24th, 2015. The day I so desperately tried to save a life. I can tell you the last thirty days have been difficult. I cope. I grieve. Some nights I sleep. Most nights I’m awake. I cry in the dark when nobody is around. I hide my pain. The wounds on my feet have healed. The scars are there as a constant reminder to me and everyone I know. No one can see the damage inside. It hasn’t healed. I don’t know that it ever will.

The pain comes out of nowhere and punches me in the gut. All the ugly hangs out. You can’t see it. I feel it. Everyday. I’ve poured myself into my work. I haven’t been writing. I haven’t written since my tribute to Jeff. My words were too dark to share. I’ve occupied my mind with The Original Bunker Punks Website the past three weeks. I’ve kept myself busy publishing other writers and their works. I do enjoy publishing,editing and posting the work for other writers. Behind the scenes work has helped me so much.

My saving grace has been working on cars. I laid underneath a Nissan and changed out an air compressor in 100 degree weather. I was relaxed. I had clarity and mostly I felt peace. Working under the hood of a car feels like home to me. I don’t know a lot but I learn more everyday. My best days are the ones when I come home covered in grease. My hair is matted with grease and refrigerant. The looks I get when I go into a store make me giggle. Cars are my therapy. Writing is my release.

My words have failed me lately. So has my car at times. I need a constant project car to continue my therapy. I have to trust my words again. I used to spill them across the page with ease. Now they hesitate leaving my mind. I’ve lost so much in translation. I hope the words will find me again. I’m a storyteller yet I can’t tell my store anymore. I feel I have no right being upset. My feelings aren’t valid. How can I be grieving for a man I didn’t know? I only met this man at the end of his story yet I’m entangled in it. Maybe these are normal feelings. I’ve lost people in a previous job. I never saw them. I was only the voice on the other end of the phone. It still hurt when I lost them. It’s a whole other ballgame when you are right there and feel them slip away.

I didn’t even think I just acted. I know I did the right thing. The right thing isn’t always easy to do. I have no regrets for jumping in and trying like hell. The aftermath never crossed my mind. I live in it everyday. I’ve thought about Jeff, his family and his friends everyday since he left this world. I know he gave me purpose. I’m struggling with it. My son was there that day. I sent him away but I caught him watching. I hope he will help others as I do. I didn’t want him to see anything that happened in the parking lot that day. I hope he understands how fragile life is now. When you are a teenager you usually don’t grasp how precious life is. I can only hope he will carry this with him and learn from it. I’m still learning from this experience.

The Aftermath is ugly. Peace isn’t mine yet. Forgiving myself will help me heal. Forgiveness isn’t easy. Doing the right thing isn’t easy. Guilt is keeping me prisoner. Letting go seems so easy, yet I can’t. I have purpose. I’m still learning. Aren’t we all?

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The Chapter of Captain Jeff McCullough

Our Lives are like books. We each have our own story. Many different people play a part in our story.  People come into your life and can leave faster than they entered your story. Our stories overlap. We are intertwined in the tellings of each others stories. Some people have smaller parts yet their impact will be felt a lifetime. This isn’t my story it’s a chapter from one that intersected with mine on a hot Wednesday afternoon in late June. This is Jeff’s story. I am but a minor character in his book. He is a major one in mine.

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It was like any other day. I picked up my oldest son in town after a long morning. I was so worn out and could barely move from the back pain. Carter informed me he needed something from the store. I didn’t want to go further into town. I just wanted to head home since I’m 20 miles away. I told him we would stop at our local Dollar General. It’s the only store in my area besides convenience stores. I rolled down Highway 64 and made a left hand turn into the parking lot. I noticed the parking lot being paved and it was roped off so parking was on the entrance side of the lot now. When I pulled in the parking lot I knew something was wrong. I whipped the car in park and we got out. My eyes focused on a man in a truck. I yelled to someone with him if he was alright. I knew he wasn’t. I heard heat stroke and commotion. I instructed my son to run into the store and call 911. I told him not to come back outside. I ran in flip-flops and scrubs. I leaped over the tape blocking off the paving. Did you catch the part earlier where I could barely move? I became a machine. I was on a mission and I would not be stopped.

I am a force to be reckoned with in an emergency. I think quickly and react even faster.  I am focused and determined. I know exactly what to do. I’m not forgetful anymore. I am strong. I feel no pain. I jump in without a second thought. This is not my first emergency. This was my worst. I asked some questions and barked orders. Our eyes met. They were so green and kind. He looked to be the same age as my father. I knew he had worked hard his entire life. I could see it. I felt his kindness all around me. I assessed the situation and reacted.  The situation had changed quickly. CPR was needed. Cooling his body temperature with water allowed us to remove him from the truck to do CPR. The parking lot burned my feet and legs. I never felt it. I made sure he stayed wet so he didn’t burn. His best friend and co-worker Wendell was at his side. It was then I learned that both men were in law enforcement in the next county. Wendell and I did CPR for what seemed like an eternity. We had some success but were unable to maintain his airway so it was vicious cycle. We talked to him. We were there to comfort him. I couldn’t maintain his airway. I ran my fingers through his hair and told him “It’s ok Jeff I’m here and I won’t leave you. I kissed him on the cheek. I felt him leave us. I went back to work. I called his name. I yelled, I begged, and I pleaded for him to stay. I had barked orders at people and didn’t conduct myself in the kind way that I normally do. I was a machine and I had a job to do. The first responders and EMS arrived. I didn’t voluntarily move. I was dragged away.

I stood up and walked away. I cried. I felt overwhelmed with emotion. I was shaken. My son was watching. I didn’t want him to see me. They continued to work on Jeff but I already knew he was gone. I failed him. I let his,family,friends, and community down. It was a punch to the gut. I knew at that moment I’d never be the same. The greatest man I never knew had left this world and I was in shock. Why? My kindness was drawn to his kindness. I’ve learned since that Jeff was selfless and kind. He cared about people and he made a difference in this world.  He was someone I would have looked up to. I admire him. Through all of this Jeff gave me purpose. Kindness is the only way. Help others and love one another.

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I enjoyed meeting his family and friends. The service was beautiful. I was asked by his daughters to join them and place a rose on his casket along with their mother. I was touched. It was moving and I became emotional. The world lost a great man when Jeff went home. I will never forget the lesson he taught me. He gave me perspective. It was an honor and a privilege to be with you in the end. I hope I gave you safe passage. I’m only sorry this was your last chapter. I will carry you throughout the rest of my days in my heart.

“A Heart is not judged by how much you love but by how much you are loved by others.” The Wizard of Oz

 This man was loved by everyone. His heart was pure. Rest easy.

Fate Asked Me to Dance

 

Today I’ve been shaken. I happened upon a man in distress. His coworkers and a store employee were helping him. I got out of the car and knew he was in trouble. I yelled at my kid to go inside and call an ambulance. 

I started CPR on him. I’d get him back for a moment or two then he’d leave me again. I didn’t give up. I kept working on him until Ems and first responders arrived. When they took over I started to cry. I never said a word. He died in my arms but I kept on with CPR. 

You never know when you will be faced with someone’s life hanging in the balance. Will you stand on the other side of the tape or hurdle it to help a dying man? I cleared that tape and did what I had to do. I have found out this man was a very good person. He was a well respected officer in his community. I’m only sorry I couldn’t save him. Fate asked me to dance. I never say no.

the semicolon project

This piece hits close to home. I have connected with someone I’ve never met. The Semicolon Project is really something. Pause and keep going. You don’t have to quit.

hpwritesblogs

FullSizeRender-1FullSizeRender Today I went to a tattoo artist, and for $60 I let a man with a giant Jesus-tattoo on his head ink a semi-colon onto my wrist where it will stay until the day I die. By now, enough people have started asking questions that it made sense for me to start talking, and talking about things that aren’t particularly easy.

We’ll start here: a semi-colon is a place in a sentence where the author has the decision to stop with a period, but chooses not to. A semi-colon is a reminder to pause and then keep going. 

In April I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. By the beginning of May I was popping anti-depressents every morning with a breakfast I could barely stomach. In June, I had to leave a job I’d wanted since I first set foot on this campus as an incoming freshmen because of my mental…

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Going Home, A Eulogy for My Best Friend

June, 19th 2009 my oldest son turned 7. It was bittersweet. My best friend lost her battle with Breast Cancer at the age of 32. She left behind a husband and two young daughters. I miss her everyday. I wrote a eulogy and poem that I read at her funeral. I stood there like a statue. I never cried. I spilled my heart and had a seat next to my other best friend. I don’t take pride in myself much. That day I was proud that I offered comfort to others with my words and feelings. These words were for Regina.

My Eulogy for Regina Clark Peacock

“Some are born great, Some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.” -William Shakespeare

These are some of my favorite words that have ever been written. I stumbled across these yesterday and instantly their meaning became perfectly clear. I met Regina in high school and we became fast friends. It didn’t take long for me to figure out what an amazing person she was. Regina was considerate, kind and very nurturing. She kept me grounded as our personalities are total opposites. Her compassion for others made her stand out in a crowd.

Regina was a very spiritual person and I believe her positive attitude was a result of her faith. Her faith was never shaken during her illness as she remained strong until God called her home. I admire her determination and strong will. Regina never questioned her faith nor did she complain during her illness. I had the privilege of having the strongest woman I will ever know as my best friend. I shared in the joys and the pain and because of this I am a better person. Regina was born great and through her love and friendship greatness has been thrust upon me.

 Going Home   

The day has come to set me free

I leave you now with little pieces of me

 

My journey hasn’t ended its’ only begun

The battle is over my peace has been won

 

Know that I love you and I’m never far away

Forever in your heart is where I’ll stay

 

It pains me to leave all that I love behind

God has called me home let this ease your troubled mind

 

Remember me in the good times and not the bad

Think of my love please don’t be sad

 

There will come a day when again you see my face

I wait for you in Heaven ready to share this beautiful place

6/21/2009

Fading Away

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I’m not who I once was. I’m a shell of my former self. I’ve come a long way in the last year. I’m stronger because of the changes I’ve made. It hasn’t been easy nor am I done with my transformation. I am trying to be the best me I can be. I wasn’t broken overnight so I can’t expect to be changed overnight.

I am fragile. I have feelings. You don’t need to tear down what I’ve already built. The damage left by the words you speak can’t be erased. Now I have to move past those things. Your opinion of me is not my business. My business is to learn not to care what you think. Go tear down someone else’s house. Mine is being rebuilt at the moment.

Awaken

Something was stirred within my soul. Life was breathed into my tired heart. I felt it skip a beat with mention of a journey. Two hundred eighty-five miles away, your words melt my icy heart. I am no longer still. My mind is racing at the thought of you. So many times I’ve come close to hitting the road and finding you.

 This game we play is a dangerous one. I walk the line of reality and fantasy. I’m in between a dream and a lie. The butterflies dance in my head. I’m drunk with my desire.  My habit is you. I’m not well nor do I plan to overcome it.

So many times I think of you. Things get intense in my mind. It’s not the arena I’d hoped for but ’twas all I had. You are a dream yet you are real life. You awakened something within me. I can not silence my heart. Wait for me. I promise. I will be there soon.