Sunday, December 16, 2012

I bawled like a baby

I write infrequently on here, and I should write more, I think. But these days I am so busy with teaching and working on a novel and other matters that I end up having less time than I wish to log on and post my thoughts. Sometimes, however, circumstances arise that I need  to put into words that only can be addressed in a format like this one. Friday was one of those.

I don't know how it happened, but I got through the entire day without hearing about the horrific events at Newtown, CT. For a joyful and benign additional eight or nine hours of my life, the words "Sandy Hook Elementary School" meant absolutely nothing to me and the name "Adam Lanza" even less. I usually have at least one news aggregate site open during the day, but I was so busy with conferences on Friday that I never had time to do so. And my students and colleagues, who normally could be counted on as sources of information when stories of this magnitude are happening, either were equally ignorant or never said a word in my earshot. So I blissfully and naively proceeded through my day, my only major issues wondering how on earth I was going to complete the units I was in so I could test on them prior to break.

And then I came home.

As usual, my husband Dirk had already arrived and was lying in our bed, doing some work on his laptop, so I snuggled up to him and asked about his day. After telling me, he noted my smiling face and asked why I was in such a good mood.

"No reason," I offered. "Just good to be home for the weekend."

And that's when he said it: "You haven't heard about the shooting."

I sat up. "I have the feeling that you're about to ruin my good mood," I said.

He was expressionless (which, to be fair, is his normal facial condition). "There was a shooting in school in Connecticut. Twenty kids are dead."

And I absolutely lost it.

I do not know what happened. I know I said "Oh God" several times and something about it being "worse than Columbine," but I have no real idea why it affected me the way it did. The tears started falling and the sobs followed, tears and sobs for kids far away and for a world gone completely insane, for an innocence lost long ago that has fallen so far into the gutter that it can never return, for kids whose lives had been ended by a gunman--AGAIN!--so abruptly while they should have been safe...

And then it suddenly occurred to me that Dirk had never said "high school." And a horror rose within me. I could barely make the words come out.

"High school?"

"It was a grade school."

This was not anything I could have conceived of. The notion of little children... I think I might have wailed. I know Dirk opened his arms and enfolded me to him. I know we stayed that way for a very long time, him holding me and me sobbing, in pain, trying to make sense of something that made no sense at all, trying to make sense even of my overwhelming reaction to it all, which also made no sense but I could not stop it.

Little children. The only ones among us who still have any innocence. Little children.

Eventually I sat up, knowing I needed to get to my own computer and read about this, knowing that the only way to deal with it is to try to comprehend it, knowing too that there was no real way I would ever comprehend it.

In the hours and days to follow, I would grow angry (angrier) about the gun culture in America. I would publicly on Facebook declare that, no matter what my gun-owning friends and siblings say, it is time NOW for this to stop. It is time NOW to start passing common sense gun laws in this country, to begin the end of events like these, events so horrible that they can only be known by the names of places: Columbine, Virginia Tech, Phoenix, Aurora, Newtown. I would learn that Westboro Baptist Church plans to protest outside of Sandy Hook Elementary, and I would wonder what kind of a human being I am when the first reaction I had to that news was to wish that Adam Lanza had targeted them. And I would watch the most beautiful and powerful tribute to these lost little souls on--of all places--Saturday Night Live, which so often has its hands on the zeitgeist and in this case seemed to know exactly what we all needed.

But on Friday evening, all I needed was to understand. And the truth is that I never would. None of us ever, ever will.

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it's your hair that i notice first
streaked with morning
it frames your face
you lying there eyes closed
soft breath not quite there
i follow its path as it bends the sheet
and i can touch you there
touch what i feel is you
in the spark of daylight
you'll rise
pull on the wrinkled shirt from last night
say something you think is beautiful
drink some coffee
from behind my paper
and drive away,
leaving a kiss on my lips
and a hole in my heart
where a fire ought to be

Favorite Films

  • The Wizard Of Oz
  • Amelie
  • The Princess Bride
  • Casablanca
  • Annie Hall
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • All That Jazz
  • Citizen Kane
  • Love Actually
  • Moulin Rouge
  • Big Fish
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • Almost Famous
  • Bull Durham
  • Notting Hill
  • Apocalypse Now (Redux)
  • Magnolia

All-Time Favorite TV Shows

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Gilmore Girls
  • M*A*S*H
  • The West Wing
  • The X-Files
  • The Daily Show
  • Ally McBeal
  • Picket Fences
  • All In The Family
  • Seinfeld
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show
  • Star Trek
  • Firefly
  • Wonderfalls
  • Northern Exposure
  • Get Smart
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show
  • Twin Peaks
  • The Larry Sanders Show
  • Monk
  • Felicity
  • St. Elsewhere

Current TV Shows I Enjoy (in no particular order)

  • Perception
  • Major Crimes
  • American Horror Story
  • Louie
  • Suits
  • The Newsroom
  • Falling Skies
  • Franklin and Bash
  • Veep
  • Scandal
  • Fairly Legal
  • Girls
  • Don't Trust the B---
  • Justified
  • Portlandia
  • Psych
  • The Middle
  • Person of Interest
  • Happy Endings
  • Hart of Dixie
  • Real Time with Bill Maher
  • Nikita
  • Raising Hope
  • Castle
  • Drop Dead Diva
  • Covert Affairs
  • Elementary
  • Rizzoli and Isles
  • Revolution
  • The Last Resort
  • Alphas
  • SNL
  • Revenge
  • Community
  • Suburgatory
  • New Girl
  • Once Upon a Time
  • Grimm
  • Nashville
  • Downton Abbey
  • Smash
  • Homeland
  • Fringe
  • Glee
  • Haven
  • Community
  • Warehouse 13
  • Modern Family
  • Vampire Diaries
  • The Daily Show
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • The Colbert Report
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Leverage
  • Rachel Maddow Show

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