Usually on an autumn Sunday like today, the kids in my neighborhood would be playing a touch football game in my street. The neighborhood dads – John and Mike – and the kids, girls and boys alike, would throw the football and run the plays, breaking whenever a car needed to pass by. Every Sunday, the sounds of play – the screaming, the shouting, the laughter – usually waft through my open front door as I putter around inside or drift off for my daily nap.
But not today. On this exquisitely beautiful autumn Sunday, a Sunday that feels like the calendar should say May or June, there are no sounds of play. Today, there is a hush on my street. It is still and quiet.
Last night, as my mom and I settled in to watch 48 Hours Mystery, we noticed an ambulance and a fire truck outside my row of houses. As we watched the activity, we wondered what was going on. Perhaps one of my neighbors had fallen. Maybe someone had a heart attack. We speculated because when you see an ambulance and a fire truck in the neighborhood, that’s what you do, don’t you?
My next door neighbor came by a few minutes afterwards to end our speculation. I couldn’t have imagined the words that he would tell me. The boy who lives three doors down from me hung himself. He was fourteen.
At this point, no one knows if it was suicide or something that went horribly wrong. All I know is that my neighbors have lost their fourteen year old son.
Today, I’m not watching the neighborhood kids play football in the street. I don’t hear the sounds of carefree childhood play. Instead, I’m watching the kids as they sit on their front steps trying – I think – to make sense of this tragedy. It is something that the adults are trying to do too.
It is a sad day on my street.