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Some Things Don’t Turn Out The Way You Wanted Them To
“Billy, come on. You don’t want to be late for your first day,” April said to her brother. She watched as her seven-year-old little brother tried to gather his book bag. She smiled at his innocence. Billy was going to start first grade today. She loved that he didn’t yet get that summer break was over, which meant that sleeping in till noon was no longer possible. April was twelve, starting seventh-grade, and realized this all too well. Billy finally threw his backpack over his shoulder and ran for his big sister. “You got all your stuff?” she asked with a smile. He simply answered with a nod. “Okay, then lets go.” April held open the front door and let Billy start out in front of her to the bus stop. Their school was a kindergarten through eighth-grade school, so April was going to show him around a little.
“Hey, April?” Billy said shyly, looking up at her as they reached to bus stop.
“Do you think that the teachers will be nice?”
“Of course. You have Ms. York. I had her, too. She’s cool.”
“Do you think that I will learn a lot at school?”
“More than you ever wanted to,” April said smiling.
“Cool! I like to learn!” Billy said with a smile.
“I know you do,” April said, now laughing slightly at Billy’s excitement.
“Yes, Billy?” April said still laughing.
“Do you think the other kids will like me?” At this, April stopped the laughing a little and knelt down next to her little brother.
“Why wouldn’t anyone like you?” Billy smiled and gave April a hug before the bus came. When the bus pulled up in front of them, Billy nearly jumped onto it to go to school.
At lunchtime, April took the opportunity to go and check on Billy. She walked through the halls silently as she approached Ms. York’s first-grade classroom. She didn’t knock, but simply peered through the little window of the door. She glanced around the room, trying to find Billy. She spotted him at a table all by himself, coloring. She then noticed two boys headed for Billy. They were smiling. April’s first instinct was that Billy had made some friends. She breathed easily for a second, until the two boys took the crayons out of Billy’s hands. Billy protested a little but when the boys started saying something he stopped. Billy looked down at the ground as the boys talking down to him some more. April’s heart sank as she watched this unfold. ‘No,’ she thought. As tears filled her eyes, the bell rang, signaling the end of the period.
Instantly, the halls were filled with students rushing to where ever they needed to go. April looked around quickly, knowing that she had to join the insanity soon. But her feet stayed put. She turned back to Billy’s class. She now saw the two boys walking away, laughing with the crayon box under the biggest one’s arm. Billy sat in the same position. He was alone, starring at the ground. Suddenly, April’s best friend, Devin, grabbed her arm and pulled her away from the door and into the crowd.
“Come on, April! We’re going to be late for class,” Devin said. April didn’t respond. She only allowed herself to be dragged along through the bustle of kids to her next class.
Billy brought April back to the present. It has been over 7 years since Billy’s first day of school. Billy was now in seventh grade and April went to a community college so that she could live at home. Ever since that day the bullying has worsened. April was now in the bathroom with her brother as he threw up into the toilet once again. This had become a too often occurrence. Billy would throw up from the shear thought of going to school. April had done just about all she could over the years but nothing helped the situation. Most of the time it seemed to only make things worse. More than a few times Billy had come home with bruises or cuts. It was always the same two boys too, Derrick and Evan.
The thought of changing schools had been brought up more than once. However, as it was a small town, the nearest school was an hour and a half drive away. Their family just couldn’t pick up and move. One time April was so desperate that she even considered offering to do something for, or rather to, the thirty-year-old vice principle that was a little out of bounds. While she never went through with it, she considered it a small price to pay in order to end Billy’s suffering. He had a calendar in his room where he would literally count down the days until he went to high school and away from the boys. Billy had turned into a very smart kid, but yet seemed to be punished for that worse than anything else.
April handed her brother a towel to wipe his mouth off. He simply took it without a word. He then turned the sink on and proceeded to rinse his mouth out with the water. When he was done he patted his face will the towel once more and set it down on the counter. He looked April in the eye for a second then dropped his head to the ground and headed out the door.
“You need a ride?” April quickly asked before he had turned the corner. Without even turning or saying a word he nodded a response. “Okay,” she said with a breath as she exited the bathroom as well and headed for the kitchen. She grabbed her purse and keys from the island counter. She turned to see Billy in the hallway entrance, head still facing the ground. She turned around making sure she had everything. She then spotted Billy’s book bag on the kitchen table and went to pick it up.
“No!” Billy shouted out suddenly, seeing what she was doing. April stopped in her tracks and looked at Billy. Regaining himself a little he spoke again, taking a few steps closer to his bag. “It’s heavy, books and stuff. I’ll get it. Don’t worry about it.”
“Okay,” April said slowly, not knowing what the sudden outburst was about. “I’ll meet you in the car then.”
“Sure. I’ll only be a minute,” Billy said as he neared the kitchen table, and his book bag. April nodded an approval and headed out of the kitchen to her car outside.
When Billy climbed into the car, he was looking down at the ground once more, while gripping his bag. The ride was pretty silent. Billy simply starred out the window at the world; with April sending him concerned looks every now and then. When they finally arrived at school, Billy made no move to exit the car. He simply moved his glaze from the door window to the front one.
“Billy?” April asked a few seconds later, when Billy hadn’t moved. “We’re here,” she said trying to sound a little upbeat. “ Look, I know that you don’t want to go in there, but...”
“No,” Billy said suddenly for the second time that morning, cutting his sister off. Billy turned his head to face April. “I’ve got a new outlook that I am going to try today. I actually want to go in there today as see if it works.”
April smiled at this slightly. “Good for you, Billy. That is the kind of optimism that I like to hear. Now, just in case everything doesn’t work out the way you want it to, you have my cell on speed dial, right?”
“Yeah, but I think I’ll be fine big sis,” Billy said with a smirk. Then, turning to a more serious expression, he spoke again. “You know I’ll always love you April, no matter what happens between us or anything else. You’ve always been there for me and I don’t think I ever really thanked you.”
April smiled again. “Now it really must be a new day for you,” she said with a laugh. “Kidding. Come here,” she said as she brought Billy in for a hug. “I’ll always love you too kiddo, no matter what,” she said quietly. When they let go, Billy gave her one last smile and then opened to door to leave. Billy turned to face his school, slightly dreading the day ahead. April, like always, didn’t leave until Billy was in the building.
Several hours later, April was at lunch with, her still best friend, Devin, when her cell phone rang. She saw the Billy’s school’s name on the ID. April took a deep breath and tried to prepare herself. She had received a couple of calls from the school before. It was always the nurse at the school, calling for her to take Billy home for some reason or another. She reluctantly answered.
“Is this April Ferro?”
“Hello, Ms. Ferro. This is Principle Harbor at your brother’s school. It seems that your brother was involved in a shooting that took place about an hour ago.”
“What?” April shouted out. “Is he okay? Is he hurt?”
The man on the other end cut off her questions. “Miss, please. You really must get down here right away. I will personally answer all your questions when you arrive.”
“I’m on my way. Thank you.” Before Mr. Harbor could give a reply, April had hung up and was on her way to her car.
She drove as fast as she could, most likely breaking a couple laws as she went. Ten minutes later she arrived to a very different school than she had been to that morning. Ambulances and police cars were everywhere. There was police tape across the front doors with a few cops behind it. April rushed up to one of them as fast as she could.
“I’m sorry miss. You can’t go in,” said the policeman as she tried to go under the tape.
“Oh right. I’m April Ferro. I was called about my brother, Billy.” The man spoke into his walky-talky then lifted the tape to her. “Thank you,” April managed to get out as she ran through the doors and into a scene that did not calm her fears. There were at least a dozen stretchers, paramedics, teachers, and more staff running all about. Suddenly, someone called her name.
“Miss Ferro!” April spun around to see who had called her.
“Principle Harbor. Where is Billy?” she asked desperate to see her brother and take him home as soon as possible.
“Please, come with me,” the man said as he started to lead her out of the commotion. The principle led her to a near by hallway where two other men were standing. One she recognized as Devin’s cop brother, Rob.
“Hi, April,” he said softly, seeing her approaching.
“Miss Ferro this is Officer Hersh and I take it you already know Officer Felts,” Principle Harbor said.
“Yes, and nice to meet you, but, not to be rude, could someone please tell me where my brother is?” April said getting slightly scared now.
The principle and Officer Hersh looked at Rob to speak, seeing as how he apparently knew her. Rob saw this and spoke. “April why don’t we go over here and talk.”
“Talk?” April said slightly taken aback.
“Yes, please, come with me,” Rob said. April fallowed a few feet over and waited for Rob to start.
“I’m sorry that I am the one to tell you and not your parents, but as they are out of town, here it goes.” April said nothing, only waited for him to continue. “This morning, at approximately eleven o’clock, Billy pulled a gun out on several students.”
“What?” April said, barely above a whisper.
Rob continued. “He killed a total of four people on his way from the library to the cafeteria. Once he reached the cafeteria, three other kids were killed before he...” Rob stopped for a second, not sure if he could bring himself to say the rest. Taking a deep breath, he finished “Before he killed himself.”
April took a step back, shacking her head. “No,” she said quietly. “No.” Rob took a couple steps toward her. She backed away, tears now filling her eyes. “There must be some kind of miss understanding here. He is not died, and he didn’t do this. He wouldn’t. He couldn’t.”
“Was Billy ever bullied or teased that you know of?” Rob asked, trying to make her see.
April looked at the ground like Billy had done so often. The first tears fell down her face. She tried her hardest to stay calm and convince herself that this wasn’t true. After a few seconds she spoke with shaken words. “All the time, day in and day out, for years. But that doesn’t mean that he would...” April stopped, remembering their conversation earlier that day. Now it made sense. Billy was saying good-bye, for good. April brought her hands to her face and finally let the tears fall. She collapsed to her knees, her legs no longer being able to hold her up.
Rob ran to her side and wrapped his arms around her while she cried. He, like many, knew how close she and Billy were. All it took was a smile from Billy to put a smile on her face. April leaned into Rob, the only support she had right now. He stayed with her the whole day of questioning, and after. He knew that she needed someone right now. Sure, she would have preferred Billy, but this was all he could do. He even went to the memorial service with April a few days later. He stood close by when she went to say good-bye.
“Hey, Billy,” April spoke quietly to the closed casket. She softly put a rose on it and continued. “Why didn’t you tell me?” she began in a cracking voice. “Why didn’t you confide in me like you used to do? If that is what you were trying to do that morning, and I was just being stupid, then I’m sorry. That was my fault I guess. I should have noticed how different you were acting. Maybe I should have even seen this coming.” April looked down at the ground as tears started to form in her eyes again. She took a deep breath. “If you thought that you had nothing to live for or that you weren’t helping anyone by being here, then you were wrong. You were my rock, as I would like to think I was for you at one point. I’m sorry I couldn’t help whatever it was that you were feeling to make you do something like this. But I hope that now you can find peace and harmony.” She looked back up at the casket. “I love you little bro,” she whispered quietly. She kissed her fingers then brought them to the top of the casket. “Good-bye.” With that she turned and headed for Rob. He was waiting for her and immediately embraced her. There was nothing left to say.