Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Aurora, CO


Friday July 20, 2012 7:32am

After my daughter wakes up from her bed, she passes me on the couch as I watch the news.  She notices my tears but doesn't comment.  I murmur a 'Good morning' and my voice cracks.  I sob.  More tears. I need to be strong. She looks at me again, I feel her hesitation before she asks, "What's the matter, Mom?"

Can't she see the images on the tv? The police cars flashing, the dropped popcorn on the side of the road, the blood trail along the sidewalk?  She's ten I remind myself.  I shut the tv off and try to speak, my throat filled with disbelief.  Finally I say, "A man hurt a lot of people last night during the premier of Batman."

"Oh."  She says looking at the ground. "So why are you crying?"

Another sob. Because we planned to see the movie on Saturday in a different theatre in Aurora.  Because I thought about taking you to the midnight showing.  Because so many people will never be the same.  Because of the mom of that six-year old girl.  Because of the man holding up the picture of his son, desperate for any information. Because our worst fears came true this morning.

Instead, I say, "I'm afraid."  It's like 9/11 when I was pregnant with her.  "I'm afraid because there are people out there that want to hurt other people and I can't stop it."

She replies, "I get it."

I shut off the tv and wish I could shut off the images in my head just as easily.  "What do you want for breakfast?"

"Waffles."  She answers with a smile.  "With chocolate chips."

"Okay."  I go into the kitchen to prepare her waffles and hide my tears.

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