Absent Hero This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

January 25, 2010
By , East Quogue, NY
I have a story to tell. It is a story of loss, loss of a hero and loss of a companion. Loss of happiness, dreams, and stability. It is the story of where my loss happened, of how it affected my outlook on life, how it altered my perspective, how unthinkable consequences happen to innocent people. And it is a story of how blind ignorance and inconsiderate actions transformed a familiar world into a foreign animalistic habitat.

It was 11 o’clock at night and I was already a half an hour past my traditional curfew. Little did I know that was the least of my worries. As I pulled up to my cozy household, I knew something was out of the ordinary. It could have been the chill that ran down my spine when I noticed the two unfamiliar cars parked sideways in my driveway. It could have been the fact that every light was on in my home and every blind and curtain was open for the world to peer in. Either way, something was wrong and in the pit of my stomach I knew everything was about to change.

I approached the door with fear tearing away at my insides. On my way, I considered two possibilities. Either my house was being robbed and I was about to walk into a pit of death or the unknown cars in my driveway were police and someone was in a massive amount of trouble. I honestly hoped it was the second option. Now, I utterly regret ever anticipating such a thought.

My front door opened before I even had the chance to reach for the handle. A man with the words “East End Drug Task Force” on his navy and lemon colored jacket stood before me. He made it unnecessarily clear that I was not allowed to take another step toward the inside of my home. Throughout my life, my parents have never allowed police officers anywhere near our property. Therefore, I figured it was only a matter of time before my Dad came home and caused a riot. I have never been more wrong about anything in my entire life.

I peeked in and caught a glance of my hysterical mother sobbing on the couch. Once she realized my presence, she dashed toward me with our dog in her arms. She was shaking and weeping uncontrollably, yet trying to speak at the same time. All I could make out was, “They took him, oh my gosh, he’s gone.” We were unaware of what was happening or why this tragedy had struck our family like a lightening bolt. All we knew was that the police had dragged my father away from us. We did not know this would be the night that changed our lives. I was highly distracted by my mother’s ongoing hysteria and as always, I jumped into liberator mode. I wanted to cry, but it was as if my tear ducts had dried out. Deep down, I knew I had to keep it together for the both of us.

My mother and I were not permitted to go home that night. My mother spent the night sitting up wide-awake at my grandmother’s house. I stayed at my best friend’s house in search of reassurance and relief. Not a tear dropped from my eyes. My lack of sleep did not even disturb me. All I felt was terror, rage, and misfortune. I waited for the sun to rise before I decided it was time to head back toward my house. I used the word house because I had a feeling it was no longer secure enough to be my home. That distinctive sensation of comfort was lost.

When I arrived, my mother and I opened the door to the wreckage of our belongings. Everything in our house had been ripped apart, torn to shreds, and flipped over as if a tornado had run through every room. Beds and couches were turned upside down. Draws were taken out of dressers and tossed to different rooms. Items that had been in our household for as long as we lived there were now broken to pieces. Unfortunately, the tangible accessories would not be the only evidence of calamity. Our family puzzle had been thrown on the floor as well and only time would put the pieces back together.

My dad faces a great deal of imprisonment now. The police say he is dangerous, that he is nothing but a drug dealer with bad intentions. This is not so simple for me. I do not feel any shame or resentment toward him, only loss. I lost a person who was always there to lift me up when I couldn’t reach. He was strong when I was weak. I lost a man so devoted to his family, that he put his life at risk in order to provide for us and make sure we were able to take our dreams and turn them into realities. Although I will probably spend the most of my life trying to reconcile this loss and his actions, my dad’s heroic qualities will always shine through in my personality, my actions, and my future.

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