| Cool air swept down upon me last winter just as I attentively read the newspaper of January 21, 2007. A name stuck out of the paper as if it were bold even though it wasn't a title.
“Jeremy Willow, 17, was found late last night by a fellow co-worker and brother, Allen Willow, 22. Jeremy was found with multiple gunshots to the chest and shoulder as well as many bruises on the left side of his face. Allen Willow stayed at their family business, ‘The Coffee Shoppe’, to finish cleaning up and locking down the restaurant. Allen gave us an interview in which he reported that the last words of young Jeremy were ‘Tritter Farconi,’ the known leader of the ‘Marciano Gang.’ Farconi is highly suspected of said murder but is yet to be found. Turn to page 4D under ‘Murder’ for more of the article including interviews from mother, Jean Willow, and father, Joseph Willow.”
It’s not that I was too “manly” to cry. I was unable to cry because I knew very openly that this is what the world is like. A wise man once said “If you develop into a completely and overly sentimental person, you can only negatively ruin your state of being prior to the action.” I believe that man was I. This does not mean that everyone in the world has to see me as some sort of a narcissist because I don’t care. I move on with my life, but I acknowledge the fact that everyone else is sad. Sadness is a very personal emotion that just doesn’t make sense. I don’t see the point of forcedly making yourself feel bad.
My plan for the next day was to take a short visit to the Willow home and express my remorse with them about the loss of their second son, Jeremy. My situation with them was perhaps one-of-a-kind. In the interest of being absolutely frank, I am a prodigy and am forced to hide it from the rest of society. I could have finished school by the age of thirteen. My name could have been written in science articles everywhere. “All research in this article was done by Spencer Wilkinson.” I was not worried that my discoveries and research would be taken for granted or used for the wrong reasons. I felt that any attention was negative attention.
Anyway, January 22 brought slight winds and an uncompleted sheet of snow. Tufts of grass poked up from underneath the sidewalks, cracked and dilapidated. Snow was a very likeable piece of nature. The features of the world around it seemed so much more alive when compared to the blank, cold snow. I stood on the porch of my ugly yellow home, large hands in pockets, and my head in the direction of departure. I pulled my long brown bangs out of my face because I hadn't had a haircut in a while. I didn’t feel the need to own a car for I was less than 2 miles away, walking distance, from any necessary building.
The path to the Willow home was a straightaway course heading east. I started walking towards the Willow home at about one o’clock P.M. As the sun made its journey westward overhead. The sidewalks suddenly turned from cracked and dilapidated to bright, new and shoveled of any snow as I crossed into the borderline of Allen's neighborhood. Allen’s house was painted white with shining blue shutters. Christmas lights hung all around the gutters and on the vertex of the roof. A short curving sidewalk led up to his front door, a monstrous, red double door. The door was decorated for Christmas with a wreath that overlapped the two doors.
What looked oddly out of place was the right half of the Christmas lights on the gutters were hanging down next to a silver, metal ladder. The ladder sunk into the ground, not very noticeably but significant in my mind, about 1.3 inches. Allen was a short, skinny person and did not have a sufficient weight to sink the ladder. Mr. Willow must have been on the ladder when Allen rushed home to tell them the dreadful news. A pit grew in my stomach, but was ignored.
I slowly knocked my knuckles against the right side of the double door, but instead of seeing bright and cheery Mrs. Willow, the door opened slightly as if someone had been waiting all along. Mr. Willow’s eye was the only bit of white I could see. His eye was moving up and down very fast observing me.
“Get in here boy,” he commanded as the door swung completely open, and his hand reached out to grab the chest of my t-shirt. I was pulled inside as the door swung shut behind me.
Mr. Willow was a short, stumpy man with a neck too large for his neck to chin ratio, short black hair and dark, arched eyebrows. Although he was not an old man, the anxiousness and depression caused his skin to look wrinkly. Mrs. Willow was a tall, skinny woman with long curly blond hair thrown about, wide, oval-shaped glasses and a short curved nose.
“Where is he? I know you know where he is! You two kept secrets then. What would stop you now?” he ordered with force. I concluded he was talking about Allen, as he was not there.
“I don’t know where he is!” I shouted. Right when I staid “don't”, Mrs. Willow turned her head and buried it in her hands, whimpering.
“He left last night after he came to tell us....” Mr. Willow had to gather himself. “We were waiting for him to come back from the bathroom but he never did. We know he went after that Farconi fellow. We know our son is avengeful and will do anything for revenge, but he doesn’t understand when it's gone too far. We just want him to come back without doing anything to destroy his life or even getting....” Now Mr. Willow had his face buried in his hands.
Standing there seemed so out of place as both of them were sitting and crying. I nervously put my hands into the pockets of my denim jeans and thought hard for what seemed like a full five minutes. Almost instinctively I ran for home. All of my dignity was gone. I did one last thing to preserve some of that dignity in others' minds. I didn’t yell. That would be illogical.
My flee for home could’ve been normal, but the abnormal pops up once in a while. There was Allen, short, skinny, light-brown hair, gun in hand. There was Tritter Farconi, tall, bulky, black hair, on the ground, unarmed. I slid behind a nearby trash can, and watched the scene unravel.
“Thought you could hide, huh? Passing by me, your hood concealing your disgusting face, about to fire your gun when BAM! You’re disarmed and staring at karma. That’s all this is Farconi. Even your simple mind can figure that out. You should have seen this coming from a mile away, but you were too caught up in your stupid self-centeredness to give a second-thought to taking a life. You ought to die with less dignity,” Allen asserted. Allen then pulled back the cocking mechanism on the gun, pointed it towards Tritter, who in return sat up straighter and smiled psychotically as if he wanted to be shot.
I don’t know what made me do it but I did it. I stood up and made myself present.
“Don’t do it Allen! He deserves his punishment and someday he will get it at the hands of another. You’re as low as he if you follow through!” I explained forcefully.
I could tell Allen had second thoughts. The gun lowered about half an inch until another unheard voice rang out.
“He cried for mercy, pathetic!”
The gunshot rang throughout the street. Tritter was dead. Allen had a look of shock on his face, and suddenly was running towards me waving the gun like a mad man.
“You’re going to turn me in!” he yelled furiously
“That won’t happen,” I lied. He ditched the gun in the trash can and said that we couldn’t be found together. He left for home as did I.
It seemed very clear to me when I was with Allen that I would call the authorities. Only when I got home did I realize that just because Allen had the chance doesn’t mean he shouldn’t have done it. I was already dealing with the shock of watching two people die. Tritter's death was literal. Allen destroyed himself and the rest of his life by his actions. The decision of what was to be done was my inner ultimatum. If I didn’t turn Allen in, then I would live the rest of my life with the thought of what Tritter’s family or justice would have said. If I did turn Allen in, then he would be sent to jail and have ruined his life because he would be looked down upon for all of his life.
Allen was shortly sent to jail that evening after I gave the police an anonymous tip. Allen commited a crime and therefore was to be punished by law. Friendships are negated when it comes to crime and punishment. Everything seemed pretty normal as no one knew I turned him in. A month later I got a letter in the mail from the county jail from Allen.
I know now the seriousness of my actions. Your wise words were not strong enough to break through the indestructible shell of hatred that surrounded me. I write this letter in memory of Tritter Farconi. You were right. He deserved his punishment but at the hands of the Almighty Judge, not me. I am the lowest of the low, one who takes his sorrow and forces it down other’s throats. I am sorry.
Allen Joseph Willow
It’s not that I wasn’t “manly” enough to not cry but I did and feel no worse than before.