So many people walk the halls of a courtroom
Police officers, lawyers, fathers, sons, brothers, grandfathers…
Some sweet, some evil.
You sit facing the Judge
Glancing at the different types of people surrounding you.
The lawyers laugh with one another, crack jokes,
The officers are already awaiting their lunch break.
Those in the audience are a bit more interesting.
Ones waiting to hear their fate
And ones praying that justice will be served.
My family and I fell under the “praying that justice will be served” crowd.
As our enemy sat on the opposite side of the courtroom,
Waiting for this to be over with so he can go back to his daily life of working out and surfing.
So many thoughts went through my head,
“I want to go over there and hurt him.”
“I want to ask his mother how she raised such a demon of a son.”
Another thing I remember quite well…
Thinking to myself…
“These lawyers don’t give a shit, it’s just another day for them.”
Meanwhile mothers, sisters, grandmothers sitting there,
Minds running wild,
With months of built up sadness and rage.
That day I watched my mother emotionally read her letter
To the coward who almost took her youngest son from her.
I watched coward keep his head towards the wall.
I wanted to get up and shake him
“LOOK AT HER!” I wanted to scream.
LOOK AT HER and see the sadness in her eyes.
She finished and the coward received his fate
One more year of probation.
Probation. Yup. Justice? Not even close.
That day wasn’t the worst of them though. March 7th, 2012. The worst day of my life. The day that still haunts me and sometimes still gets the best of me. I woke up from my nap listening to my mom complain about my brother getting arrested for having a fight at McDonalds. Over some girl! (eye roll) She was talking to my youngest brother and his friend in the hall way and I decided to go with her to the precinct to see if we could pick him up yet. We were sharing a car at the time (insurance issues) so when she said she wanted to stay the few hours until Cody was out, I told her I was going to go home and that I’d pick her up later when he got released. Driving back home, I had no idea that in just a few minutes my whole life would change. My families lives would change forever.
I got home and started talking to my youngest brother Matthew and his friends about the incident at McDonalds. Just gossiping talking about how stupid it was, really. It must have been around 10:00 PM, it was dark out. I was standing on my side stoop as I looked into the street and saw three cars slowing down in front of my house. One car had the interior light on and I saw a bunch of heads. Two cars kept going. The black truck parked across the street. Teenage boys got out with bandanas over their faces. This is the moment that my heart dropped. This can’t be real. This isn’t really happening, My mom always talked about kids coming to the house because of the fights my other brother got into. Her nervous thoughts had come to life and she wasn’t there to watch her children as they became frantic.
Once I screamed to my brother that there were kids at the house, the next few seconds were a blur. The feeling in my stomach was like none I’ve ever felt before. I wanted to vomit. My hands were shaking, my thoughts were all over the place. What do I do? I have to protect Matthew. That’s all I kept thinking. My feelings of guilt come because of this. I wasn’t able to protect him. He almost passed away right in front of my face. On our front lawn, of the home we have lived in for over 20 years. The home where we felt safe in. The home where we made memories. All that was erased and replaced with the worst memory. Telling teenage boys who are feeling ballsy to leave your property doesn’t always work, unfortunately. And it didn’t that night. They just kept coming. Trying to protect each other and our home, my 15 year old brother, at the time got hit in the face with a baseball bat by a 19 year old who took a full swing at his skull. One inch higher and he would have killed my baby brother. The scream my brother let out still haunts me to this day. I watched him fall to the ground, holding his face. His mouth was bleeding and his teeth were falling out into his hands. We had no idea at the time the amount of damage that had been done.
Fast forward to the hospital. They didn’t let us see my brother right away and they sent a priest and a nun out to talk to us. My mom was going crazy, asking why she couldn’t be with her son who was a minor and who was hurt. When they let us go into the ER, my brother didn’t look like himself. His face was larger than normal and bloody, his left eye swollen shut due to the impact. He couldn’t speak to us due to the pain inside his mouth and his jaw being broke. His jaw had shifted from the hit and he had teeth fragments in his mouth.
They operated on my brother the next day. The next day. He stayed in pain all night. I sat there holding his hand apologizing in his ear. My heart was broke. It was shattered. Nothing could feel worse than this. I wanted to take his pain away. My brother ended up getting 8 plates and 35 (roughly) screws in his face to hold it together. He also had a mesh type of netting in place of his eye socket because the whole socket had been shattered. (They call this a BLOWOUT due to it breaking everything) His teeth stayed broken and chipped until his jaw was healed because they could not work on his mouth until he was able to open it all the way again. He was on a liquid diet for months, eating through a straw.
We put our house up for sale (didn’t end up leaving though) We didn’t feel safe there anymore and every day walking out our front door was our front lawn that now was a totally different place to us. My mom found pieces of my brothers teeth a few days later on the grass. I remember her coming in hysterical crying, questioning why this happened. It was her first time home from the hospital, where she spent her nights next to my brother in an uncomfy chair. She didn’t eat anything the whole week my brother was in the hospital, slowly looking skinner than she already was. She watched as nurses and doctors worked on my brother while he was in ICU because he had stopped breathing. It killed me to see her like this, to watch her baby suffer in so much pain. Pain that was never deserved for a 15 year old boy.
One year and 8 months later… my brother is doing amazing. His scar is faded and he’s handsome as ever! He’s in his senior year of high school and just got his drivers license. (brings a tear to my eye!) He still goes to doctors appointments, and has issues with certain things due to the incident. He can no longer do certain things, such as sports in fear of something hitting his face. As my brother is in his senior year, he has to think about getting another surgery to fix his eye (that he lost most vision in) instead of thinking of things normal seniors think about. Like the prom or college applications. I blame coward for this. For taking away a 15 year olds innocence and leaving him and his family to pick up the pieces of broken hearts.
It feels good to write about this. Also makes me sad, angry and nervous too that I’m putting this out there for the world to see. But, I feel some people need to know the extent of damage that was done. Those that didn’t realize how much pain that was caused. I wrote a lot but there’s still more to the story but I’ll leave it as is. I’m so proud of my brother and how far he has come and how strong he stayed through this whole thing, never complaining either. I’m also proud to say that I can discuss the incident now without balling my eyes out. We are all still in the process of accepting what happened and being thankful that he’s still here with us.
Things happen in our lives that give us a wake up call. Open our eyes to things. Some people have pleasant eye openers, while others have eye openers like this one. I wrote this to get my feelings out, writing to me is therapeutic in a way. It’s not to get pity or for others to feel bad, it’s simply to share my story and make others realize to be grateful for your family and the loved ones you have surrounding you. They won’t be around forever.My brother, Matthew, then and now. (so handsome, I know!)
For those of you who read this whole thing… thank you for taking the time out to do so.