The Watchman

The Watchman

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Worst Day

This is an essay Wil wrote for his English class. I thought I would share it.

The day had been just like any other Saturday. The sun was hot, the pool was refreshing, and the day was long. The day had been like any other Saturday. The lifeguards were talking about what they were going to do after work, and discussing the whereabouts of the source of the big pillar of black smoke. The day had been just like any other Saturday. After swimming a few laps, I had to get out of the cool water and go on stand. And that’s when I saw him. The police officer that was walking towards the guard shack. While I was wondering what he was doing here, (probably something dealing with the snack shack again), he asked me if I was Wil. Confirming that I was, I started to walk towards him thinking about what I possibly could have done. The actual reason he was there was far different and far worse than I could have imagined. And that’s when he gave me the bad news that knocked the wind out of me like a ton of bricks. “Wil, your house just burned down.”

A few days later I was told that I must have gone into shock after I was told this horrible news. Whether I did go into shock or not, my thoughts were the same. At first I thought that he was joking. I thought that my mom had set up this clever, sick ruse and it was all just a joke. Even though that’s what I was thinking, rather hoping, I knew it wasn’t true. The police officer told me that all my family was okay and that he was there to take me to my grandmother’s house. After a few moments of gathering up my things, my mind racing with so many thoughts that I couldn’t even understand, I left the pool with the police officer and headed to my grandmother’s house. During the car ride the police officer and I asked questions back and forth to one another trying to kill the stunned silence that had enveloped the police truck. As we got closer and closer to La Verkin, I tried to keep denying what he had said in my mind, but I just wasn’t able to. As we got closer and closer to the grocery store, the smoke was getting bigger and more ominous. As we got closer and closer to my grandma’s house, I was able to clearly see the burning wreck of my home and that’s when I knew that my life was going to seriously be altered by this.

When we arrived at my grandmother’s house, my family and one of our dogs were all there, except for my dad who was up at the house still. I realized then that all of our other pets were gone. Looking at my family members, I realized that I had more possessions than the rest of my family put together. They didn’t have things with them that they normally wouldn’t leave the house with. Namely, a pair of shoes and their cell phones. After a short time of hugging and talking with my family I went upstairs and tried to hide myself from the world. From where I was sitting there was a window that looked directly at my house. I’m glad the blinds were down, because I don’t think I would have been able to tear my eyes away from the fire. As I was sitting alone upstairs my mom came up to talk to me. I don’t even recall what exactly we talked about but I remember that it was a short conversation that didn’t involve much talking, and it took a lot of my strength not to start bawling like my mom. She left after a while of silence telling me she was going up to the house to see if there was anything she could do to help.

I stayed upstairs for some time thinking many thoughts about why this happened. What did my family do to deserve this? Were we being punished for something or were we just unlucky? When I finally decided that these questions could not yet be answered in my mind, I went downstairs to be a part of the chaos which had become of my grandmother’s quiet home. There were so many people bringing my family things like clothes, food, and bedding materials. When I got downstairs the first thing I did was get on Facebook. I wanted to talk to someone and get my mind off of what was happening. Fortunately, the person I wanted to talk to most was online and we talked for a few hours about nothing involving the fire. When she found out about it, we talked about that, but we tried to avoid that subject mostly. I had made plans earlier that week to go to the movie theater and that’s all I wanted to do right then. I wanted to get out of La Verkin, away from all these crying people bringing my family things. Away from the house on the hill that was still smoldering. Away from all the emotions that were filling me up about ready to make me explode. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go to the movies so I was stuck at my grandma’s house right in the center of all this commotion.

Facebook, my one way to get away from what was going on, was also a way for everyone who were my friends and were online, that knew what was going on, to tell me how sorry they were and asking if they could do anything to help. That’s what everyone was saying. People would come over with a bag of clothes and ask if they could do anything else to help. People came over with food they had in their fridges and asked if they could do anything else to help. People would come over, people I didn’t even know, some I still don’t know and give us their condolences and hugs and ask us if there was anything else they could do. None of these people, none of them will ever know how much they helped. For weeks after the fire my family was asked everywhere we went how we were doing. And we would always say we were fine and thank them for their concern, but in truth we were far better than fine, because we had so many people there for us that we were just overwhelmed with love.

For the longest time, I have had a certain opinion about people. That opinion was that people were selfish and greedy. That they may say that they’ll do something for someone they may not even know,but when it came down to it, they really wouldn’t. I thought that everyone was like that, including me, and that no one was an exception. I’m not the kind of person who likes to admit when I’m wrong, but that night I was proved wrong. I was proved so wrong in fact that in the future, if this kind of thing happens to someone near me I will do everything and anything I can do to help them because I know what it’s like. Although I would consider this to be the worst thing that has happened to me so far in my life, my perception about people has changed and I have changed myself. The night of the fire I slept better than I thought I would and I know it was because I had been surrounded by the love of my family and friends, strangers and God.


  1. Awwwhhh! He's a great kid. I have no doubt he'll do exactly as he says.

  2. wow. Of course I am crying - again. Love your family so much. You do have amazing kids. I learned a lot that day too. It was an awful and awesome day. Tell Wil - thanks for being willing to share with those of us who wanted so badly to help and often wonder how you are ALL doing.

  3. Wow, Great essay Will. Thank you for sharing your emotions and reminding the rest of us how kind humanity can be. Amazing that you have found good in the experience. You are an amazing young man, with a gift for writing, that is certain. I look forward to seeing all of you over the Christmas break. Love from all of us in Monterey. Sandi