What’s On My Mind – Samantha Segura

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Photo by Taylor Finelli.

   On Wednesday, Dec. 6 at approximately 11:30 a.m., Ben welcomed Maddie and I into BEH, room 120 like he always does, joking and laughing as we retreated to our seats in the back row of the room. I had to present my final project today, and I was not excited to speak in front of everyone, but I honestly was just ready to get it over with. Maddie, Chris, and I planned to walk across the street to Cuginos to get a celebratory end of the semester lunch.

   Pizza and spending time with my friends was the only thing on my mind at this time. The dreaded question of who wants to go first today was my only concern. I raised my hand and looked at my fellow group members for confirmation. It was time to gather at the front of the room. Our presentation was going amazing, everyone was knowledgeable about their assigned topic, and Ben was excited to see what we had to offer this cold winter morning.

  At approximately 11:40 AM, it was my turn to share my slides. I moved from my distracting position on the right side of the room to stand front and center at the computer. My mind raced because I did not have much prepared to say, especially because everyone else before me presented so well. I looked up at Ben to confirm I was royally screwing this up like I originally thought in my mind. As our gazes intertwined, an alarm blared out of thin air. Echoing around the stuffy classroom and causing many to cover their ears.

   Assuming it was a fire drill and nothing major, I motioned to Maddie to grab my phone. She quickly retrieved both of our bags as I made my way to her in the back corner of the room. Not finishing my final project and having to start my slide over was the only thing on my mind at this time.

   Thankfully, room 120 was right next to the main exit and entrance point of BEH. My right foot reached the ground as I took my final step off the stairs, looking ahead of me to make sure Maddie was right at my side. We looked into each other’s eyes and made a joke like we always do about the given situation, it’s just what we do best. Standing outside in a crowd of confused students did not make me scared at first. Because I thought the emergency was a fire, I peered up to the big blue sky and saw nothing but a single plane flying by. That is until a random stranger crossed my gaze and frantically said there was an active shooter in BEH on the fourth floor.

   Getting out alive and making sure Ben and Jake were aware of this startling news was the only thing on my mind. My right thumb was quick at working trying to find Jake’s name in my recent call list.

   After a few rings I was sent to voicemail, and my heart instantly dropped. Jake works in the most high profile building on campus, the same floor as President Whitfield. I walked back up the side stairs of Beam Hall and calmly pushed past my fellow classmates. I whispered the news to Ben and Myles who were standing directly to Ben’s left. My mind raced back to Maddie and how I left her alone on a main walkway of campus. We quickly reunited and started walking towards the hospitality building.

   Calling my loved ones and telling them the unsavory news was the only thing on my mind.

   Maddie threw open the large double glass doors of the Hospitality Building open and motioned for Chris to get up. He didn’t seem phased at all, no one knew what was going on. I walked over to him and the group of students to inform them all there was an active shooter on campus. Our feet swifty moved in unison to get to the Tropicana Parking Garage and get off campus. Upon reaching the Academic Success Center, we hear a crowd of people become startled and start running towards us. My feet have never moved faster as I began to run for my life. Making sure I made it home alive was the only thing on my mind.

   My phone started ringing and Jake’s name appeared across the screen; thank God he’s alive. I answered out of breath and let him know I was okay and in the parking garage. He assured me he was barricaded and trying to keep the situation under control in the large Student Union ballroom. Maddie and I started racing up the four flights of stairs it took to reach our cars, and of course, the elevators were broken today. As my right foot hit the official point of the second floor, another loud alarm started going off, warning students to run and hide for their lives. Getting off campus and home as quickly as possible was the only thing on my mind.

   Thursday, Dec. 7 feels uneasy to say the least. Waking up this morning, my eyelashes still caked in mascara, it did not feel like a regular Thursday morning. I should have been getting ready for work and school the day after. Getting out of bed felt like a challenge, one I am no stranger to facing. The whole day was spent anxiously waiting for news of the suspect, the victims and the state of UNLV as a whole. Being glued to Twitter/X all day wasn’t such a good idea because of how many posts I was seeing referring to the incident as “fake news.”

   Anonymous users going so far as to say the students being interviewed on the news were crisis actors. Wondering how people could think this tragedy was fake was the only thing on my mind.

   On Friday, Dec. 8 at 12:30 a.m., I could not sleep. I got into my small stash of prescribed anti anxiety medication for sleep, and, of course, I only have one pill left that won’t do anything for me. The only thing keeping me awake right now is writing this. I wouldn’t call this a letter because it is not addressed to anyone. I wouldn’t call it an essay or assignment either because I’m not being graded or persuaded to state my opinion. If anything, writing has always been therapeutic to me and a way to express my thoughts. Thinking of this text as a therapeutic way to deal with my emotions is the most logical explanation. I don’t know what will happen in the coming days regarding finals or even my work schedule as a student employee. Nothing is certain anymore for me, especially the impending future.

   Left to wonder when it will all make sense is the only thing on my mind.

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