Concrete Thoughts

Mom wailed agony when I arrived, tears falling from her jawline. She said she didn't mean to do it. She told me she was only trying to teach him a lesson.

Her son, a shot to the forehead lay on the concrete path connecting their driveway and front porch.

Ambulance arrived to pick up a body limp and we rushed him to the back. Then lights and sirens to a hospital to try to fix all the broken pieces. I rushed to tape off the crime scene as family members and friends began to arrive. They tried to rush a perimeter taped off to get to where his body had first dropped, as if there had still been time to catch him. Holding back family members trying to protect evidence we still had, soon turned to fists punching in torment, car windows and screaming into a black sky that only responded with silence back.

My phone began buzzing off and on in a uniform pocket between an assaults and homicide detective because I was still waiting on word from the hospital.

Crime scene arrived to collect photographs and evidence and more and more family arrived on scene with tears-filled-angst paired with falling on knees in helplessness.

We loaded the victim's mother in the back of the squad car and she would be transported to our headquarters for a Miranda warning read before her paired with an interview by a detective.

What gets to me most even today,
is what I remember at the forefront about that night. There are so many details to what I saw and the work done and conversations had, but I always seem to go back to one that bombards the rest:

The sidewalk path.

The sidewalk path and how piled on top were the skull fragments and head matter left in a red puddle where her son once lay.
I keep looking at that heap in my head and I picture all the thoughts piled there that had once crossed his mind. All the thoughts that had fallen out below like rain after being spilled by lead.

Which ones were they?
Which thoughts and ideas had they been once,  before leaving forever?
Perhaps his favor for chocolate ice cream was there somewhere, or a snapshot memory of sitting on laps and playing outside.
Or maybe remembering to take the trash out had fallen out too and was somewhere in that bloody pile.
All those pieces of him on the ground;
Which ones-- that made a son this son; a brother, this brother?
---Left now to turn cold just beyond a front screen door.
And what bothers me more when I think about this night was how I wanted so bad to wash off that concrete. I couldn't wash the ground that the ants had swarmed and I wanted so badly to scrub it all away. I still think about that. I really wanted to clean it up, ya know, I didn't want anyone else to see it. I even played with the idea that night of running back to my patrol car, grabbing the water I had left in that QuickTrip cup to pour over the mess until it flooded its way into the seeps of soil.
There's always something that plays louder than the rest with every scene.
That's the part for me. That's what got to me the most with this one. This part messed with me the most, and even still.
---I wanted so bad to wash it all away.
And I couldn't.


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