The last time I felt anything like the way I feel now was when my father went missing. Then, I was the daughter of a missing father, a new initiate into a secret society I never wanted to join, possessed of secret knowledge I never wanted to have.
I described it thus in my work-in-progress, Missing Dad:
“I was living and moving from place to place inside a glass box that I carried everywhere I went; everyone could see me, but no one could touch me.”
It’s different this time; my loss is one of (relative) innocence and trust rather than loss of a person (something that haunts my dreams is how easily it could have been just that). When you have seen something that should never have happened, it forces a separation between you and the rest of reality. You are the initiate; you have been let into a secret dark place that few people see, and where few enter voluntarily.
I am the initiate, again. In my current circumstance, I am one of the very few of this clan who has never had something like this happen to someone they care for.
When I lost my father, I had my family; we all experienced the loss, and did so together as a family, as well as individually. I’m not alone this time, either; it helps to be around others I care for, who share my stress, shock, grief and anger. I also have the cognitive dissonance of having my safe, middle-class, somewhat privileged world up-ended, suddenly and viciously.
Now I, too, shudder when I hear the sirens. I used to think they meant that help was on the way; now, my visceral response (my stomach tightens without my thinking about it) is, maybe it isn’t help on the way. Maybe it’s more trouble, and pain, and lies, and grief.
I guess we’ll see. I didn’t expect any of this, but I guess I was being naive. I do read the New York City papers, after all, and I do know what’s going on here. I had hoped it would never be on my doorstep, is all.
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