I used to not cry about things like this.
The big tragedies. The ones that kill and kill and kill.
I don’t think I cried about those. Not even a single tear.
Maybe I was just too self-centered. Maybe too young. Maybe I just didn’t get it, couldn’t feel it.
Maybe I hadn’t lived long enough to have that pain mean something, to me, safe and protected hundreds of miles away.
It used to feel unreal.
Like it was sad. “Wow, that’s sad.” But I didn’t cry. Because really. What do I care? It’s not me. I mean I cared because it’s sad, but it didn’t affect my life.
Or maybe I’m just an asshole.
I don’t know, I just didn’t cry.
But I cried today.
I was sitting in a staff meeting and I read an article on my phone. I read the words “8-year-old boy” and I put the phone down and I closed my eyes. And I fucking cried.
I felt so tired. Just so tired, beat.
I don’t know what I was crying about. I don’t know those people. I don’t know that boy. I’ve never been to Boston. But it was like this pain just came from the depths of me, out of nowhere and everywhere, from something that makes me the same as the mother who lost her son today and the people bleeding and the humanity.
I felt crushed under the weight of an idea of a boy gone.
A boy gone.
And when I cried the third time driving home, I realized I was wrong.
I know him. I’ve always known him.
I loved him.
I love him now.
I love him with all my damn heart. Because he’s a boy like mine or nothing like mine, and there’s something I recognize in him, something I know, like I know the people murdered and the youth bullied and the hatred and the war and your grandmother who passed away yesterday. And mine, who died 4 years ago.
A soul. Two eyes, hair, little hands and skin and a voice.
My boy. Yours.
If you let yourself go you’ll feel it too, the knowing. The friendship, the love, fond recognition of faces you’ve never seen. I know you.
And I wish you weren’t gone.
In a few days it will all be back to normal. The Facebook feed will be all the old meaningless shit and the news will have moved on and nobody will care except the distant passing glance. Of remembrance.
But at least today I cried, for an old friend, for a boy who was born and lived and died, like I have, and will, and you.
My old friends.
I guess I cried for you today.
hope i can recognize you tomorrow