It was not until ten in the morning before Peter McGuire was able to get up and get out of bed on that particular Monday. His alarm clock had started ringing at seven in the morning and he had almost gotten out of bed before he realized that it was the first Monday of September and he did not need to wake up so early that day. It was Labor Day after all, a holiday that had been proposed by a Peter J. McGuire of the American Federation of Labor in 1882. This always fascinated the current Peter of our times. He always took it upon himself to do something special in the memory of the man who gave the whole of America an extra luxury every year; a Monday off, which meant a long weekend. Even though he had no relation with the deceased, and he was not even in the similar line of work, he felt a kind of a kinship with the old Peter. He always felt glad that at least a certain Peter McGuire had done something right in this world. He had done nothing, he was the proverbial loser, but he always remembered that on Labor Day and always did something special in order to commemorate the great Peter before him.
This year, on this particular Labor Day of 2007, Peter McGuire decided to go visit his family's house in Virginia. He had not been there for the past twenty years; he had not seen or heard from his parents, and he did not know what had happened to his little sister. It must have been a mystery to them, this disappearance of his'. One day, on graduation night from his high school, Peter had suddenly disappeared from his town. He had not been able to tell anyone before running away and he was not able to call his house and tell his parents, or his friends, what had happened to him. He had lived the past twelve years in New York City, working odd jobs until he won a sizeable lottery, which enabled him to open up his own music store. He started by selling vinyls and cassettes, but he had now moved into the new age of CDs and DVDs. He had been eighteen when he had run away, and was now thirty-eight years old. His business was dwindling and he was extremely unhappy with his life. Yet he persisted, year after year, waiting for Labor Day so that he can truly feel alive. He wondered how many people knew that Labor Day was established because his namesake had started it.
He felt somewhat awkward when he stepped out of the train and onto the steps of the train station in Virginia. He had not been here over the past twenty years and he was unsure as to how he would be welcomed (or unwelcomed) at home. He did not even know if his home would still be there, if his parents were alive, or his sister still in town. Waving aside these feelings of doubt and uncertainty, he purposefully made his way up to the neighborhood where his house used to be located. All sorts of memories started to come back to him as he walked past the municipal building, the library, and his old high school. Flashes of that fateful night zoomed through his head as he made his way across the road and towards his house that was coming up. What a horrific night that was, he thought, as he made his way across the pathway, and into Oak Hammock Lane, where 1105 was his house number.
He remembered the sound of the gun shot, the spray of red blood in the air, the scream that failed to escape the mouth of that poor young girl, and the eyes of that man holding the gun, as he looked him straight into Peter's eyes, acknowledging that he had seen Peter kill the girl. Peter had been so scared that he just ran away from that place, without stopping at even his house to pick up any money. He just ran away from that place and did not stop until he had reached New York. He had stayed hidden for these twenty years and had only decided to come back now because he had seen the picture of that murderer in a newspaper, saying that he had been shot in some mob-styled killing. Peter had been so scared that he had never called his house or written them a letter for fear that the man will find out where he is and would hunt him down. It was only now that he felt safe, and was able to return to his own home.
Most of the people in the lane were out, enjoying the warm, crisp air and the neighborhood barbeque that had been planned by the tenants. Peter felt some goose bumps and butterflies in his stomach as he approached the front door of his former house and rang the bell. He had to ring the bell a second time before a small ten-year old boy answered.
“Well hello there,” said Peter. “Are your parents at home little buddy?” Peter hoped that this was his sister Lizzy's son. The boy nodded and ran back in, shouting “Daddy, daddy, there is someone here to see you.”
Peter braced himself as a tall, broad man came out of the house and answered, “Yes, can I help you?”
That night, alone in his apartment in New York City, Peter McGuire of 2007 lay crying. He was now not only the biggest loser in the world, but he was also utterly alone. The man in the house had told him how his family had moved in his former house some eighteen years ago. The last tenants in the house, a young couple and their six-year-old daughter, were all murdered by some gang related violence. Peter was sure that it had been that man who must have found out where he lived and come back to kill his parents and his sweet little sister Lizzy. This was the last Labor Day celebration that Peter McGuire ever lived through. He wanted to tell himself that everything was going to be fine, and that he will do something special next year again, but he just could not convince himself. He had found out about the deaths of his family after eighteen years, and even though he had been alone all this time, he now also devoid of any hope. This Labor Day, September 3, 2007, became Peter McGuire's last day in this world.