This morning, on Father’s Day, one of my neighbors shot his wife and then shot himself. Their 14 year old son was at the store. He came home and found them, and then I guess he told his grandparents, who lived in the front house, where they’ve lived for more than thirty years. They are a large, Mexican-American, hardworking family, except for the one who killed himself. He never wanted to work, and preferred polishing his car. When he was little, he was obsessed with fireworks, and he discussed them all year long with my son, who was the same age.
Eddie and his fireworks, we used to say. He was particularly interested in ‘M 80s.’ He got his girlfriend pregnant when they were both seventeen, and he was very proud of himself. He named the kid Eddie Jr. As soon as Eddie Jr. was old enough to hold his neck up, his dad adorned him in gold chains, just like a little gang banger. It seemed kind of tragic to me; Eddie Jr. was groomed to be a lowlife, just like his father. Soon, Eddie Jr. was playing out on our street, bullying my younger son, just like Eddie Sr. had once bullied my other son. Those Eddies, we started saying. History repeating itself, etc.
Today, Eddie Jr. was running around the street, wearing his gold chains and dark sunglasses. He told me that his parents were dead, and that his middle school graduation is next Wednesday. He was concerned about the two tickets he had paid for.
What the fuck! The street filled up with sobbing relatives. Eddie’s sister was beside herself. She couldn’t stop screaming “Why? Why?” I held her baby, mostly for my own comfort, while she sobbed with her elderly mother, who looked very, very tired and shell-shocked. Relatives continued to arrive, women crying and men trying to hold it together. The relatives of the dead wife arrived but kept their distance from Eddie’s house. They were angry as well as distraught. It was terrible.
From what I could put together, it seems like Eddie was depressed and increasingly unwilling to leave the house. His wife, Nellie, who always had a fulltime job, was sick of him and wanted to leave. I always felt sorry for her. She was always so friendly when we complained about the weather or our kids.
I can’t feel a glimmer of empathy for Eddie, even though I guess he was a desperate soul, in the end. Why in the world should that fucking Eddie have a fucking gun? That’s the part I will never be able to understand.