The Valedictorian

September 26, 2013
All eyes were on me. This was my time to shine. I had worked my fingers to the bone for this. This moment was the best thing that has happened in my life thus far in my short eighteen year old life. I was valedictorian.

I scanned the crowd for mom and daddy. I didn’t expect to find them and I was surprised when I did. Mom was crying her eyes out and probably wailing something to the effect of “oh! My baby!” Daddy was standing there like a statue with his arm around her with his unique style of silent support. Before we left for the ceremony they told me how proud they were of me and everything I had accomplished. They always knew I had potential to do great things.

I was hurt Kyle wasn’t with mom and daddy. I wasn’t surprised though. He works much these days. I know he’ll be here. I just have to give him time. He’s just going to be late. I tried not to think about it anymore. It was almost my cue to speak.

“Friends, Family, Graduates, congratulations! We made it!”

I paused. Still no Kyle. I can’t think about this now. I have to go on with the speech, but really… I only graduate once. You’d think that my only big brother would be here to see that. He always said he would be there for me. So where is he now? I know he’ll be here. He just needs a little more time…

The doors flew open. I feel my heart jump out of my chest. It’s Kyle! He’s here! I almost shout his name out loud. My big brother was finally here. I knew I could count on him. Awh! The poor thing! He is crying just as hard as mom, he must be so proud of me. I have never seen him so emotional before.

Then I see it. There is something in his hand. It’s black, metallic and has a long barrel with a scope on the end. It’s his hunting rifle. My smile fades as I realize why he is late and what he is about to do. He positions the gun to kill. Just as I have seen him do so many times to unsuspecting deer. Still no one has seen him. I can’t make my self say anything to stop him.

The sound echoes through the gymnasium. People are screaming, mothers are trying to find their children. All the time bullets are ripping through the air. Some people are running trying to escape the chaos; others are ducking and trying to hide themselves from my brother’s fury.

Mom! Where are mom and daddy? I have to find them!
Pain. Pain explodes through my right shoulder. I feel myself get heavier until I cannot bear the weight of my body on my own legs. I fall to the ground. Then black.

When I awoke, I was still in a state of shock. This had to be a dream. There is not way that happened. I heard a voice calling my name. I slowly turn my head and see Emily, my best friend since pre-K at my bedside. The look on her face and the tears in her eyes let me know it wasn’t a dream. It was real. All I could manage to say was “Who?” Emily understood what I meant and with her voice so near tears she told me “Your mom and dad got hit in the shoulder like you. There going to be just fine. Cassie, Josh, Caden, Sarah, Ericka, Bailey’s little brother Scott, and Katrina’s mom weren’t as lucky.”

My brother did this. My brother. Again all I could say was one word “Kyle…” Emily hesitated before she told me the awful truth. “Kyle.. Kyle shot himself Katie.” I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t believe this was really happening to me. I never though I would be the person that would be affected by suicide, or a mass murder. “They found this in his pocket. It’s a letter to you.” I hesitated to take the letter. I felt like if I touched it, it just might harm me in some way. I knew nothing could happen. It was just a piece of paper. I gathered the confidence to take it from her, with my good arm. It read:

“Dear Katie,
I want you to know how much I love you. You will always be my baby sister. I had to do this for myself. I had to die knowing that I made as big of an impact on this town as you did. This was the only way I could think of. I’m going to miss you and mom and daddy so much. I didn’t want to end this way, with me gone and the rest of your life ahead of you. I wanted to see you graduate college, get married, have kids. I had to do this for me. I had to be special too.

Love Forever,

Your big brother, Kyle “

I was numb. I couldn’t believe what I just read. He did this because he was jealous. Emily put her arms around me and held me. I needed that. I kept running through the events of the day. I still haven’t graduated. It all goes back to him. I would have never thought that my out going, athletic, popular brother who had so much going for him self would end his life on such short notice and cause so many people to die with him. He destroyed so many lives so quickly. He scarred this town forever. His own family won’t think of him the same way ever again.

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