Sitting in his car, the engine on, the heater off, Newman felt cold. Outside was a freezing, bitter, and blue night in an eerie suburban neighborhood. The car sat idle at the dead end of Elm Street under a halo of a dim streetlight. He looked at the house across the street with sympathetic eyes. He felt a horrible mix of frustration and pity for himself. He flipped off the ignition switch, and thought about his life.
After the summer of his first year of college, Newman’s mother died. The college was the college that his mother had wanted him to go to. He didn’t go back for a second year. His dad in depression over his loss, his sister too young to work, Newman uneducated, his family needed money. Newman did not know what to do. Newman was stuck.
He now sat here, in his car, at 3:00 in the early morning, at the richest house in his area. He stared at the clock. Hours must’ve gone by before it ticked to 3:01. The last light in the house went out solid hours ago. He sat in front of this house to rob it, and nothing more. Newman’s family needed what this family had earned, and they needed it now… He stepped out of the car in to the cold and forgot to shut the door.
A duffel bag on his shoulder, he walked across the street and climbed up on the curb. He felt the soft, wet grass slowing him down as he made his way to a window that the family had left cracked. He slipped his fingers into the opening (scraping his knuckles) and slowly pushed up the glass. He couldn’t help but notice the small smudged fingerprints of the window. This family had children.
He took a shaky and reluctant sigh as a tear rolled down his cheek. He lifted one foot in and took note of his breathing: it was too heavy. He sat on the window sill and calmed himself. He looked back at his car across the street, the open door was calling for him, calling for him to come back and drive away. It could all end right here, he didn’t have to follow through with the rest of this.
But he had to do it.
He moved in to the house.
He had never been more scared in his entire life. More tears fell from his eyes. He almost could not believe where he was right now, what he had come to.
He took everything.
He took everything from wallets left on counters, video game consoles, an Apple MacBook. Everything but the furniture and the expensive china (he left this behind after learning of it’s noisiness when placed in a small bag with other things in it).
The other thing that he left behind was a signed Scottie Pippen jersey that he found in the basement. It was the only glass thing without tiny stubby finger prints littered all over it. The only reason he left it behind was that he felt it was too personal a thing to take from someone.
Newman’s last stop was upstairs, a place where he didn’t want to go. Upstairs was where families slept, it was also where their most personal possessions were, such as diamond and gold rings and jewelry. This, however, was something Newman wasn’t going to give up for the sake of maybe a minute or two that he might save from avoiding it. His family needed everything from him, and he had nothing to give. He had to get something, something that would sell for thousands, not some used laptop or a few hundred dollars from a wallet. That something that he needed was upstairs. Upstairs, however was a place he didn’t want to go.
He took a mile high climb up the carpeted stairs. Every couple of steps was a new stain that had been left there after years of use.
Once he got to the top step he opened the door that was directly in front of him. He moved one step in before he realized that it was a little girl’s room. He froze in the doorframe and looked for her, he couldn’t imagine hearing the sound of terrified little girl’s shriek. He looked hard but all he saw was her bed with the covers pulled off, he still felt unsafe moving in.
To this day, Newman still does not know why he decided it important to invade a little girl’s sanctuary.
He looked near the bed for some money that the girl might’ve been saving, when he couldn’t find any, he moved around to the next side. He was at the foot of the bed when he saw something. He saw an arm, the rest of… of whatever it could be was obscured by the bed and the fallen bed covers. He was too confused to think. “Why would they be on the ground? Why would they sleep with the covers over their heads?
“What if she wasn’t ok?”
He pulled off the covers. The first thing Newman noticed was how innocent she looked. She had beautiful sun kissed skin and a fuzzy panda bear under her arm. He forgot this when he remembered his situation.
He completely forgot where he was and what he was doing when he saw that, to his horror, this girl wasn’t breathing.
He had never been more scared in his entire life, all of a sudden it was just him and this little, innocent, sun kissed girl.
All the light that illuminated the room disappeared, the door, his exit, was gone. He was stuck.
His eyes wide open, unable to see, his mouth agape, unable to breath. He stood there in complete shock.
The girl lay there motionless on the floor.
What was he supposed to do? He stumbled back and clung to the wall with nothing else to hold on to. He was small and helpless.
Tears of frustration burst from his eyes. Why was he here? What had he done?
He snapped out of it. He grabbed the pink landline on the girl’s nightstand and punched in 9-1-
He slammed the phone down on the receiver. He couldn’t call the police! He’d be caught, he wouldn’t have any money, his family would be left in debt.
What would he do then?
What if he just left? He’d put all the stuff back where it was and he’d just leave, scott free. He’d get a small time job at McDonald’s until he had enough money to put himself back through college.
That sounded great.
He turned for the door and stopped mid-step. “What about the girl?” he thought. He put his head down and muttered a curse. More tears fell from his eyes.
He turned around to look at her, but the bed was once again obscuring his view of the girl.
“What girl?” He thought, “You could just forget everything and leave.” That was the answer; again he turned around but stopped mid-step.
“But can I just leave her here?
“What if she dies?”
“What if she’s already dead? You should just beat it. Just go and sell the all of the stuff you gained, there’ll be nothing to trace it back to you and you and your family can live happy lives. This will never affect you again.” That was the answer.
He walked out the door. He went down the stairs. He went through the window and shut it. He walked all the way across the yard and into his car. He turned the key and drove away from under the halo of streetlight.
He sold everything for a total of $8000. He claimed to his family that he’d won it in a very lucky night of gambling. His family went back to normal: his dad remarried, his sister finished high school, and they both are attended college.
In his early thirties, successful and married, he put a gun in his mouth, a picture of his mom to his right, a picture of the girl to the left. He had read that she died shortly after the robbery and that her parents were in deep pain. With shut eyes and absolutely no will or reason to live, he pulled the trigger.
This was the only place he could see himself if he left this girl behind. Everything he would have to live for would be left in this room along with the life of a girl who deserved nothing of what she got.
The morals that his mother reminded him of constantly were finally returned to him.
He picked up the phone and called the police.
In the hospital that night, Newman waited to find out how the girl was doing. A man and a woman approached him, they were the parents of the little girl. They asked Newman why and he explained to them his story between sobs. When he was finished, all they could say to him was, “Thank you, you did the right thing.”
They gave him a full pardon and didn’t press charges, but in fact they donated to his cause. His family went back to normal. His dad remarried a wonderful woman although he never forgot about the mother of his children. His sister finished high school and both of them are attending college.
Newman never did lose touch with the little sun kissed girl who had saved his life that night.