The Worst Day of My Life
I'm not sure what the exact inspiration for this particular story was, other than it popped into my head at work and wouldn't leave me alone.
"Jack, what's this?" Sam Hotchner asked.
Jack moved from the box he was packing to his wife's side. They were packing his more important belongings from his family home, and evidently Sam had found something important. Glancing at the laminated A4 sheets, he knew exactly what.
"When I was in the tenth grade, my English teacher made the whole class write a 1000 word essay on the worst day of our lives, and made us present it to the whole class," he said, taking a deep breath. "This was my contribution. By the time I read it to the class, most of them had tears running down their cheeks; the teacher certainly did, I remember that."
"What did you say?"
"Read it," he shrugged his shoulders. "You pretty much know the story anyway. My teacher showed it to some of the other teachers, and they entered it in a short story competition. It won a prize, and apparently everyone who read it cried."
"Your parents must have been so proud," Sam whispered.
Jack shrugged again. "I was telling a true story."
Modesty, Jack Hotchner was full of it.
The Worst Day of My Life, by Jack Hotchner
Most guys my age would say the worst day of their lives was the day their girlfriend dumped them, or losing the championship football game, but, no offense to those guys, they haven't lived the life I have. The worst day of my life was November 18, 2008. I was four years old, and it was the day my mother was murdered.
To understand my story, you have to know a bit about my family. The FBI's Behavioural Analysis Unit is a department that consists of half a dozen teams, each staffed by a handful of the country's elite profilers, for the most part based out of the FBI Training Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Back then though, there was only one team, and that's where my family comes in.
My dad, Supervisory Special Agent in Charge Aaron Hotchner, was the Unit Chief, which means he's pretty much the leader of the team. He had his own office and the privilege of dealing with the Section Chief from hell. His mentor, SSA David Rossi, was one of the founding fathers of the BAU, and held the office next to him. They were the most experienced profilers by a long shot, but even superheroes need sidekicks; they came in the form of the rest of the team.
The rest of the team included SSA Derek Morgan, an expert on obsession crimes, SSA Doctor Spencer Reid, a genius with marginal social skills, SSA Jennifer Jareau, the communications director and media liaison, and SSA Emily Prentiss, the woman who became my stepmother. Helping them out from her own bunker was Penelope Garcia, technical analyst slash professional hacker.
For most of 2008, they had been working on a case most people would recognise; the Boston Reaper. They eventually identified him as a former victim named George Foyet, and he had a personal vendetta against my dad. A few months before this day was the second worst day in my life. In the middle of a case, Dad wasn't answering his phone and Emily went over to his apartment, only to find a pool of blood and a massive bullet hole in the wall. He turned up at a hospital a few hours later; Foyet had stabbed him multiple times and promised he would be back.
It was then that my adventure really began. My mom Haley and I were put into the Witness Protection Program and were moved out of state. My dad was so sad to see us go, but knew we had to go to keep us safe. Mom dyed her hair, we went by different names, had our own US Marshall to protect us, an untraceable cell phone, the whole shebang. It probably would have been kinda cool if I were old enough to understand it, but then one day we received a call telling us my dad was dead. Mom believed the man on the other end of the phone, and we drove back to our own house where the man was waiting for us.
We walked straight into the trap. My dad was not dead at all; our original guard had been murdered by this guy, George Foyet. Foyet contacted my dad and we had this long conversation on speakerphone, then Dad told me to help him by hiding upstairs in a secret place only he and I knew about. If I wasn't only four years old, I would have recognised the fear in both Mom and Dad's voices. If I wasn't only four years old, I would have recognised the last hug and kiss that I gave my mom was her saying goodbye.
What happened next was something I didn't fully understand until earlier this year. Foyet shot my mom at point blank range while my dad was still on the line, completely helpless and unable to do anything. When he did eventually arrive at the house, they both fought a fight to the death, and Dad won. He rushed upstairs and found me before shielding me from the horrors around us.
At her funeral a few days later, Dad gave the eulogy, and he repeated the promise Mom made him make before she was murdered. "Aaron, promise me you'll tell him how we met, how you used to make me smile. Show him you weren't always so serious Aaron, show him how to love...
Even though it was the worst day of my life, looking back on it now, there are a few things I have learnt from both my parents then, and my family now. Never take your family for granted, because especially in their line of work, you never know which kiss or which hug might be the last one you'll ever give them. Show your loved ones your appreciation, and never be afraid to let them know how you feel, because some people never get that chance. Never let go of the people you have loved and lost, like my mom; remember the good times, talk to them often and don't be afraid to love again. They are always watching over us from above, whether you believe in heaven or not. They will always love you, and you them.
The worst day in my life was the day my mother was murdered. I was only four years old, and now that I think of it, I never really had the chance to say goodbye.