The Game

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During the summer, my cousin Jennifer and I always played around outside. We would do fun things like go swimming, sunbathing, running, and we would even wrestle around a bit. After we got tired we would pour some fresh lemonade in a tall glass and lounge around by the pool for a little while. We just liked enjoying the summer sun and most of all we liked spending time together. The only problem was that it wasn’t summer; it wasn’t even close to being summer. As we looked out the window hoping to see a glimpse of sunlight, all we saw was snow. Mounds of snow covered the driveway and all the streets within view of my living room window. While gazing out the window hoping to think of something fun to do on such a boring day, my mother called out “Double J, dinner is ready”. Another day wasted. “Double J” was a nickname for my cousin and I. “Jenny and Jamie; the dynamic duo”, that’s what everyone would call us. It was the type of situation where if you saw me somewhere you could expect Jenny to come around the corner right behind me. We were always close to each other. We were cousins but we would always lie and tell everyone we were twins, even though Jenny was a year and a half older than me.
Jenny’s parents were out of town on vacation for a week so my mom promised her brother that she would watch his daughter. I knew it wasn’t necessary to ask anyways because Jennifer would’ve been here all day and all night regardless of where her parents were. She practically lived here anyways. After dinner Jenny and I went to my room, blasted my stereo, and danced around until we were tired enough to sleep through the rest of the cold winter night. The next morning I was woken up by the sound of my dog scratching the door to the outside patio. My dog wanted to go outside but I had no desire to get out of bed. I let her bark for another minute or so then I head for the closet, put on my winter coat, hat, and boots and I grabbed the leash and we took off. It is almost impossible to walk a golden retriever in eight inches of snow. While I was walking her up and down the block my neighbor, Mrs. Miller, asked me how I was doing and then she said, “Where’s Jenny”? It wasn’t shocking that someone would ask where she was when she wasn’t right by my side. I answered her with a calm and cranky “She is still in bed”. In bed; that is exactly where I wanted to be right now. I returned home with my loving dog, let her off the leash and I ran back upstairs. I noticed that Jenny was still asleep so I jumped in top of her and shook her up and down screaming “Jenny”! Let me just say that woke her up fast. We both got ready for the day and headed down to the same couch that we would sit on every single day while trying to think of something fun to do in this horrible weather. My parents were at work so Jenny and I had the whole house to ourselves. After an hour or two of pure silence Jenny asked if I wanted to play a game. She didn’t do much explaining so I was skeptical but knowing Jenny it was bound to be fun so I agreed.
She grabbed my hand, pulled me off the couch, and ran upstairs urging me to follow. I walked slowly behind Jenny as she entered my parent’s bedroom. I knew I shouldn’t be in there without asking but I followed Jenny just like I always had done before. Jenny walked to the back of their room and entered my dad’s closet. She moved back a couple pairs of shoes and some dress shirts ultimately leading to the showing of a black handgun. I told her no and that my dad said that his gun is only for him and that I was never allowed to touch it. Jenny looked at me and said “Jamie we aren’t 10 years old anymore, we know how to be careful”. I didn’t want her to think of me as a baby. I mean I was fifteen and she was sixteen, that’s old enough to handle a firearm right? I asked her what she wanted to do with it and she said she just wanted to shoot blanks at the snow where the birds were laying down. She didn’t want to kill them, just scare them enough to make them fly away. After saying no for the longest time I finally agreed and we went out back.
We walked about a mile into the woods where it was freezing and snowing at a moderate rate. The weather seemed to be extra dark and gloomy today. I was scared; not so much of the gun but of my dad finding out what I was doing. Jenny’s calm personality kept reminding me not to freak out. Jenny checked the barrel of the gun to make sure that there were no bullets in it. The gun was clear and she was ready to set off her first round and scare some birds. We shot about two or three blanks into the snow. To my surprise it was actually fun. We were laughing so hard that tears fell from our eyes. It the midst of our laughter I bent down to place a rock in the snow where Jenny was shooting. We wanted to see if the air from the blanks in the gun could push the rock back. I ran out of the way and Jenny shot at the rock. Without letting her know I ran over to move the rock once again, seeing as how our first attempt to move it had failed. Jenny fired the gun right as I ran over. That’s when I felt it hit my back. The most excruciating pain I had ever experienced in my life just wouldn’t go away. Everything from that point on seemed to be in slow motion. I saw jenny drop to her knees and start crying hysterically, but I couldn’t hear anything. My head started spinning and my vision started blurring. I felt my knees give out and I fell to the ground. As I lied there and watched the snow turn dark red, I felt my body drain of all the energy I had before. My eyes closed and the next thing I know I was in a hospital bed. The gun was not emptied out. We didn’t see the spare bullet left in the barrel. Jenny, my best friend, had shot me in the back. I spent months in the hospital but apparently my sense of time was very messed up because it only felt like a couple days. I was now paralyzed from the waist down. Nobody knows how hard it is to sit there and listen to a doctor tell you that you might never walk again. No more summer fun. No more running, swimming, or wrestling around in the hot summer sun. I had traded all that fun stuff in for rehabilitation programs and learning how to stand and walk again. I don’t see Jenny nearly as much anymore. I spend a lot of time at home reading books and watching television. During summer while Jenny and her friends are outside, I’m inside alone. A game that we started on that cold winter day had destroyed my life. It wasn’t worth it. No game is worth this.





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