The Colorado shooting was on my mind all day, this strange limbo of wanting to talk about it and not wanting to hear any of the details, so the few things I knew kept rolling around in my head, growing like a tumbleweed as I picked up random bits of passing conversation throughout the day. I wanted to write about it, mostly just to get it out of my head, but I had nothing to say. I mean, truly, there is nothing intelligible we can say in the face of an act like this. The only response to this kind of grief is low moans, wordless sounds.
I was at the Wolvog’s camp when my best friend emailed me about a murder — completely unrelated — that occurred in our town seventeen years ago. The Colorado shooting fell adjacent to the anniversary of the murder, which took the lives of two of our friends. I still remember exactly where I was when I found out about it. It was the summer between my junior and senior year of college, and my boyfriend and I had gone out to coffee with another couple. We all ended up back at my parent’s house with the intention of going downstairs into the basement to watch a movie. But my mother stopped my boyfriend and me in the hallway between the living room and kitchen, sending our friends downstairs, and she told me about the murder, which had taken place while I was drinking an iced mocha. And I remember thinking what a bizarre world this was where I was drinking an iced mocha and this old friend was dead.
I still don’t know what to say. I didn’t know what to say then, and I certainly don’t know what you say about murder now. It feels like as I age, I have fewer and fewer words at my disposal, as if we’re born with millions of words which feel like they fit a multitude of situations, and as we age, handfuls get weeded out as our mind tells us that this doesn’t fit and that doesn’t fit. Until we’re left with silence as a response to this level of violence.
Perhaps that is the only thing I can think to do: a moment of silence.