How I Deal With Things

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It sounded like fireworks, first. I thought it was maybe fireworks, like maybe one of the big kids brought them to school when they wasn’t supposed to. We’re not allowed to bring things like that to school. We’re not even supposed to have fireworks at all, but one time me and Adam and Jake and Hamed, we all had fireworks and we tried to light them but they were bust because they were wet. Adam got them from his big brother, but his big brother musta wet them before giving them to us. I bet he thought it was really funny.

So I didn’t know why there was fireworks at school. But it didn’t sound exactly like fireworks because there wasn’t that after bit. And there was a bit of other noise, like kids yelling and stuff. But I don’t know if I really heard that or not because Mom and Dad said that I might be imagining some stuff. I don’t know, I don’t really get it.
Anyway, Miss Anna, that’s our teacher, she got really angry when she heard the firework sounds. Popping noises, that’s how I heard other people talk about it. Popping sounds. So when she heard them, she got angry. And she told us all to be very quiet, but she didn’t yell it, like she sometimes does. I don’t know why, but we all did. We got quiet. I was kinda scared of her, I think. Because she looked seriouser than she did other times. I guess she wasn’t angry, I guess she was worried. I asked Mom about that and Mom said she wasn’t angry. Just worried. Everyone was worried. We were so worried, that’s what everyone keeps saying. Mom and Dad were outside when we ran out after everything, and they both hugged me and said we were so worried. I still didn’t understand why but the sirens hurt my eyes so I put my head into Dad’s stomach and he thought I was crying. I’m not crying, I told him, but I know he didn’t believe me and that’s when I got real mad and didn’t talk to him for a while. He always thinks I’m crying when I’m not. Just cause he cries all the time. I don’t have to cry all the time too.
Miss Anna first told us to get under our desks after the popping noises and then she did something she tells us never to do. She answered her phone. It was buzzing, not ringing, but we could all hear it, just like she can hear it if we try to play games with the sound off. She always says she has really sensy tev ears, I don’t know what she means, but I guess it means she knows when you’re using your phone even when you shouldn’t be.
She whispered into the phone instead of talking into to and I didn’t know how anyone could hear her on the other side because when I try to whisper to Mom on the phone she always says speak up. Then Miss Ann got down on the floor with us and I started to giggle a little because, well, it was funny. And Adam laughed too because he was next to me and he saw it was funny too. Mom told me after that it was okay that I laughed because I didn’t know what was happening and then it’s okay to laugh. But I still don’t really now so maybe it’s still okay to laugh.
But I guess it’s not okay to laugh because when I tried to laugh with some woman who had really nice red hair and was standing near Mom at the meeting where we saw the President, Mom told me to hush up. Sometimes she tells me to speak up and sometimes she tells me to hush up. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do then. Dad hugged me tightly when we saw the President speak. I know there’s a big P in President because Miss Anna taught us that last week in school.
There isn’t any school now. I just stay at home with Mom who isn’t going to work and Dad comes home from the shop for lunch and we all eat together. Which is really nice. But Mom keeps rubbing my hair a lot and she doesn’t let me watch anything on tv except for DVDs. And I want to watch something on the Disney channel but she keeps saying no, because she can’t see the news again. And then she cries. I still don’t really get why. I asked if it was about the fireworks at school and she looked confused, and so I said that popping noises and she asked where I heard about that. I didn’t want to tell her that I can’t sleep so good and that I hear her and Dad watching the news late at night, so I didn’t tell her. I said I just heard it somewhere. She said yes baby, it’s about that. And then she said thank god and she hugged me again. Parents are weird sometimes.

_____________

Photo / Alexandre Laurin

[Note: Photo has no direct affiliation to this post and is being used for artistic purposes only]

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176 thoughts on “How I Deal With Things

    • I sometimes think you’re right – and I want that to be true, but I’m not sure it’s possible, really. Today’s world, with its accessible information, makes it more and more plausible that children can get information earlier, which is honestly very terrifying, especially if they receive garbled versions of things that adults refuse to discuss with them… Just musing here. Thank you for reading and commenting!

      • Hate to crash a party but I completely agree with you, slightlyignorant. I know that my family thought it was best to keep me “innocent” but by then I knew far too much that I couldn’t fully process that it was actually damaging in the long run that my family refused to further enlighten me on.

  1. Amazing. I love that your words are not overly complicated. It makes the story feel more real. Like the thoughts we have in our own heads. Beautifully written. It’s the kind of thing I wish I would have written. Well done.

    • Thank you so much. It’s really wonderful to read that I managed to bring across what I was trying to do with the language as I chose to use it here. Really glad to still have you around, 1 Story A Week.

    • Sadly, I’m not sure that it’s possible to outlaw guns in the USA. Since the constitution as written includes an amendment that is connected to guns, it has always been a part of American culture. I think that gun laws should be far stricter than they are, and I wish that guns weren’t so accessible, but I also can’t see there being a fundamental and sizable change in American culture anytime soon. There are still too many people who cling to their gun-rights (ironically, many of them are also the same people who like to prevent other people from acquiring equal rights of other kinds, like the right to marry, etc.).

      I just don’t know, really. But yes, i think there’s a lot that needs to be done.

  2. I was wondering how I could even begin responding to this when I scrolled back up and saw that “Ignorant” is actually “slightlyignorant.” You! I haven’t looked at Freshly Pressed in so long, I’m glad that I looked right now and discovered you here.

    This is a beautiful piece. Haunting, and so perfectly child-like in its tone. Also . . . so, so very unlike anything else I’ve read in many, many weeks. Not just the last two.

    Congrats! And thank you.

    • Hey, Deb! I’m so glad that you stumbled on this, too, especially since I’ve never been “Freshly Pressed” before, so this is really exciting for me and all.

      I’m so glad you liked the piece. Thank you so much for your kind words. Really, really, truly and deeply appreciated.

    • Because writing about things is how I try to relate to them. It’s how I deal with my empathy, with my sympathy, and with my need to try to understand things about the world and about myself.

      Kudos for the honesty, noface :).

      • I had a similar response to a blog I posted about Sandy Hook a few days ago. I deleted the comment but maybe I should have left it so I could leave an explanation. I think everyone imagines what it would be like to be in the position of a victim and to fully process it, as writers, we have to actually write about it. This was an Interesting perspective. Great post

  3. Until i read the comments’ below, i honestly believed this had been published by a younger child. it’s so simple, and yet so haunting at the same time. Fantastic, i shall definitely have to follow your blog now! :D

  4. Kate Johnson says:

    Hi you have a fantastic weblog over here! Thanks for posting this interesting stuff for us! If you keep up this good work I’ll visit your weblog again. Thanks!

  5. Geez, it’s tough to discuss this as a piece of fiction and not feel weird about doing so…

    I get the intent behind it and I think you wrote it very well. Especially the subtlety of the subject’s state of denial, confusion, blank inability to process something that even us grown ups can’t really fathom.

    Well pressed.

    • I agree. That’s precisely why I wrote it. Because I was having a really hard time discussing the situation without flying off the handle in some way or another.

      I’m pleased that the intent came through, and thank you for the thoughtful comment, runoffwriter.

  6. The stream of consciousness in this story is excellent. I couldn’t have written a children’s perspective better myself. It reflects the very real emotions and confusion of children who experience such situations in their lives. The story made me want to cry for the child, who doesn’t realize how close he was to real danger. Thank you for the touching fiction.

  7. So I saw some comments about the NRA. Now there are people in this world that should not have guns but getting rid of guns will solve nothing. All it will do is expand the black market when it comes to guns. Tax payers will have to pay higher taxes so the goverment can fight its war on guns. The liberal media always talks about guns and how they make this world unsafe. What the media fails to mention is that 50 million people use guns as a form of defense each year.

    • I’m not going to turn this into a political rant, and there aren’t actually that many comments about the NRA. But I also do believe in honesty, and I’m glad you shared your honest opinion about this – in return, I will share my honest opinion, which I have shared before, and that is that I don’t believe that there is a way to actually get rid of guns entirely, and I don’t think the media (liberal or otherwise) has ever said that, since it would be silly. I also don’t think that it’s completely sane (this is only my view, of course) to have a twenty-first century culture – the American culture – include firearms as such an apparently important part of so many people’s mindset. And I do think that the access to guns is far too easy, and that as long as our culture continues to consider it a normal part of life, gun violence will continue to be as shockingly prevalent as it has been.
      But that is only one side of the issue. There is also a big problem with access to mental health care. And I’m not even going to start on that now.

  8. Excellent story, truly excellent, The narrative voice is spot on. And you’ve done a great job of dealing with a very difficult subject, thank you for sharing this!

  9. Wow, I never thought of writing in the voice of a child. You captured the confusion of a child trying to make sense of a complicated adult world so adorably. I felt like hugging the child that you were trying to portray haha.

  10. WOW! You have done such an amazing job with the voice, here, that, at first, I was trying to figure out if it truly is fiction. I, too, deal with things by writing through them, often in first person. WOW! So glad you were freshly pressed.

  11. yetanothersinglegal says:

    You do a stellar job keeping the voice of the narraor childlike and in the moment. This really highlights how a child would likely experience the moment. Not so much in worried terror (as his teacher and parents), but in non-dramatic confusion. “Why is she on the phone?” “Hey, she’s making us crawl under the desks. Weird…” Good work here.

  12. I love the child’s perspective! Even though it is a sensitive subject to write about, you still did it in a way that got readers attention and gave different perspective on the subject. I really liked it!

  13. Beautifully written and thought provoking. It’s a sad, scary yet important topic that we, unfortunately have to think about and figure out how to deal with. I like your portrayal from the child’s point of view. Thank you for sharing your incredible writing.

  14. jessicann831 says:

    This was a beautiful, touching, empathic way to honor not only the innocent lives lost, the bravery of the teachers but of the surviving children who will carry the agonizing weight of this catastrophe their entire lives.

    As adults, especially parents, family members, grandparents, teachers, counselor, etc. accept and are somewhat prepared to combat certain tragedies of raising a child: measles, broken arms, bullies, learning or physical disabilities, those teenage years when they go bat shit crazy and do drugs, run away or just sit in the basement playing WoW but this…how could you ever prepare yourself? And how does one, “deal with it”?

    This post is a brilliant insight into the thought process of how an innocent, realistic, frightened child might cope.

  15. Thanks for the great post! You most definitely caught my attention.
    It was an interesting decision to go with the stream of consciousness side of the story-telling. I felt like you lost the hard, clear quality this story is possible of (going with more of a fuzzy aspect) but at the same time, that might be just what the horror of the situation calls for.
    How did it feel to write this from a Writers standpoint? Did you use your own stream of consciousness to create the character’s?
    Thanks again for the great story!

  16. let me tell you the truth at the outest. i actually meant to click some other link but i ended up clicking yours. i really cant say that i am happy that i did. because your post simply broke my heart. being from india, where gun is heavily regulated, i don’t understand your fixation with guns. but i can relate with your tragedy. it was not like this for me. when 9/11 happened, i could not relate with your grief and your anger. it was something that happened thousands of miles across. it happened to someone else. but when the Taj attack in Mumbai happened a couple of years back, i finally understood. and so i understand your grief now. specially since we ourselves are reeling in tragedy of our own. You see, a girl was brutally raped in New Delhi. So brutally that she died. i wonder when we can call ourselves human again.

  17. Missie says:

    this reminds me of the shooting in Connecticut :( pretty sad situation. but very nicely written, I’m looking forward to more posts :)

  18. oddball100 says:

    there is a great beauty in the innocence of children as well as a poignancy that is almost painful to think about, and you captured the balance so well here, It was so great and beautifully written. Thank you for sharing!

  19. Impressive piece of writing… Very sad and profound. It brings back memories of the way children always as have to try to piece information together from the muffled version of the world they see. Congratulations on being freshly pressed & Happy New Year.

  20. oliviaviolet says:

    i imagined all what you wrote while i was reading, very nice article, you touched me, i was in edge to cry .. somehow :”)

  21. redg2013 says:

    This was beautiful and so respectful. It really felt like a child was explaining this to me and I understood perfectly what he meant. Your empathy skills are excellent, I look forward to reading more of your material.

  22. ooplalund says:

    This very much reminds me of The Boy in Striped Pyjamas, which also deals with a horrible thing from the child’s perspective. Its well written and beautiful, but I hate it. I don’t hate it in the bad way…just I guess its another of those things where you feel a strong reaction to something, and it is awful, and it is lovely.

  23. What a fascinating and adeptly written post. You really seemed to capture the child’s innocent perspective, showing the vulnerability as well as the unabashed honesty which characterizes children. Thanks for sharing, and congrats on a so well-deserved FP. Cheers.

  24. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed. :) I think sometimes we need to see things through the eyes of a child to have a proper perspective on things such as this.. it simplifies it in some ways. Some won’t want to examine a perspective that brings to them a reality they are avoiding…Kudos to you for bringing it! I wrote an article that started out as a blog post response..lol in regards to this event. You might find it interesting.

    http://expatspost.com/creative/articles/in-search-of-the-almighty-dollar/

    Awesome post! I shall be looking for your future posts from now on. :)

  25. I love how you interpreted that horrible experience from the eyes of a child. It was not as horrible as it appeared here because you had skillfully hidden it in the innocence of a child.

    I wrote about it too, though I had highlighted the very moving heroism of Miss Victoria Soto. This was what caught me into (not because the lives of 20 kids were not as precious).

    Very nicely written post.

  26. Would it be ok if I quote a few of your articles providing I provide credit and
    sources back to wordpress.com? My blog is on the exact same subject as yours and my
    visitors would undoubtedly learn from a lot of the resources you
    give here. Feel free to let me know if this would
    be fine.
    Cheers

    • Hi there,

      Could you please let me know what articles you’d like to quote? I’ve looked at your blog and it doesn’t really look like our blogs are similar at all, so I wonder if this is a spambot taking over your account or something…
      If you let me know what you’d like to quote – since I don’t actually write articles here very often – then I might be fine with it.
      Thanks,
      Ilana

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