#WDYS — The Theft of Joy

Mei was walking with her husband, Jian, when she stopped, drew in a deep breath, and started to sob. Jian saw the bicycle leaning against the wall and immediately understood. Their nine year old daughter, Sue, used to ride her bike all the time. It was almost like it was a part of her anatomy.

When Sue’s little brother, Li, turned six, Mei and Jian gave her permission to put Li on the rear rack and ride around the neighborhood with him. The kids had so much fun and watching their young children enjoying themselves so much gave an immense pleasure to their proud parents.

Little did they know, nor could they have ever foreseen, what would happen just one year after they emigrated to the United States from China. All they wanted to do was give their children a better life and more opportunity.

And then a deranged eighteen-year-old boy with a legally-purchase AR-15 assault rifle, marched into their elementary school, and started randomly shooting and killing innocent young children.

Li survived the heinous massacre, but Sue did not. He was traumatized, having witnessed the senseless slaughter of his sister and his classmates. All of the joy, including riding on the back of a bicycle with his big sister, was taken from him.

The thoughts and prayers the politicians expressed would never heal the wounds their family suffered.


Written for Sadje’s What Do You See prompt. Photo credit: Yaopey Yong @ Unsplash.

22 thoughts on “#WDYS — The Theft of Joy

  1. amoralegria August 8, 2022 / 8:15 pm

    So sad. People in China don’t have many freedoms that we take for granted. There is one freedom that is not protected in our “free” country, though – the freedom from fear for children to go to school; the freedom of parents to see their children off to school in the morning secure in the belief and knowledge that their children will return home at the end of the school day. The freedom to live. Gun rights are more important than children’s right to life!

    Great response to this picture prompt!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango August 8, 2022 / 10:13 pm

      Thanks. It was hard to write and I had second thoughts about posting it. The fear you’re talking about is real. I’m happy that I never experienced this fear when my own children were growing up and it’s heartbreaking that this is something American parents do have to fear these days.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sadje August 9, 2022 / 12:38 am

    Heartbreaking story! And with so much reality behind this fictional tale one feels so inadequate. Thanks Fandango for joining in.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. donmatthewspoetry August 9, 2022 / 2:55 am

    I’m surprised you entered this area. Not criticizing. Just surprised…….I can understand it would have been hard to write and your hesitancy in posting……

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango August 9, 2022 / 6:53 am

      I saw the photo and I saw the ghosts of two young children appearing to sit on a bicycle and it made me sad. I wondered what could have become of those happy children and the tragic story — ripped from America’s headlines — unfolded in my mind.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Nope, Not Pam August 9, 2022 / 4:18 am

    Well written, it made its point perfectly … unfortunately

    Liked by 1 person

  5. cagedunn August 9, 2022 / 8:37 pm

    As a parent who has lost a child, I feel this to my core, and will never stop feeling it. As a person who lives in a ‘free’ society, I feel the spiritual torment of souls lost for no reason. As a citizen of the world, I feel this as a blight on a society that sees ‘the right to take up arms’ as a right to kill.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango August 9, 2022 / 9:09 pm

      I hope my post didn’t trigger bad memories for you. I’m so sorry for the loss of your child and can’t imagine the pain. My oldest sister lost her son (my nephew) in a car accident and she never fully recovered from that. It’s so sad that what I wrote about in this post is an experience far too many parents in my country have had to try to cope with, all in the name of the “right” to bear arms. It’s a perversion.

      Liked by 1 person

      • cagedunn August 9, 2022 / 10:49 pm

        Everything triggers that sense of loss, but I can’t avoid interaction with people, and I can’t deny them the right to the joy of their lives. We never forget them.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. leigha66 August 12, 2022 / 11:22 am

    I know it is fiction but it seems so real and breaks my heart, well done.

    Liked by 1 person

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