My alarm goes off at 9 a.m. because I don’t work a 9-5 and I am able to sleep in until then. I open my eyes and reach for my cell phone and press snooze. I close my eyes. I open my eyes 10 minutes later and press snooze again. I close my eyes. I open my eyes 5 minutes later and press snooze a last time and I keep my eyes open.
I look up at the ceiling and my room is very bright because the day has already started without me. I feel light and hopeful about the week and begin to gather my bearings as I mentally check off which items of my to-do list I will start with today. Two hours later, I am showered and I am driving to the cafe to meet a friend. We drink a lot of coffee and read and write and small talk for a few hours while the weather outside is nice and warm and the inside feels safe and calm.
A friend who lives in London gchats me: ‘what are these bombs in boston.’
A friend who lives in Paris text messages me: ‘What happened to Nathan? Also, your parents aren’t running that marathon or anything right?’
I type in a search for ‘Boston bomb’ and catch up on the events of the past fifteen minutes and begin to feel very heavy.
‘Nathan killed himself this weekend. No, my parents weren’t running in the marathon. Jesus Christ.’
I was in Boston last month. My parents run marathons. A friend from high school killed himself and I am having conversations with people who are 3,000 miles away and it makes me feel very lonely and abstract. Tiny triggers that may or may not matter have lodged themselves into my brain and are causing mental and physical reactions to the events of the past few minutes and days. Click click click click. I am a human receiving and sending information through a tiny screen from and to people across an ocean.
I leave the cafe and go home. I throw up. I wash out my mouth and scrub my face and walk into my bedroom. I lie face down in bed and breathe very slowly into my duvet and I begin to cry. I feel small. I am just one human in this world who is feeling sad about a bad thing. It feels selfish to write about, because what I am feeling doesn’t deserve any attention. I am just one person. But it’s okay, I think, to feel sadness, alone in your bedroom for people who are going through hard times. I am allowed to have a reaction. It is okay to feel badly and it is not anyone’s fault that sometimes we all become overwhelmed. Awful things happen everyday. I don’t feel negatively nearly as often as I should because of these things, but a person can only handle so much weight.
A thing has happened and I have not been personally affected. Am I being self-indulgent for talking about my feelings? I am alone in my bedroom in a corner of Baltimore and I am safe and healthy. I think about the tens of thousands of other people who are going through the same thing as I am. We are okay. Life can be exhausting and confusing and sometimes it catches up to you all at once. We just need to take our time. We are allowed to feel, react and then move on of our own accord.
I am still face down in my bed. I think ‘Please be with those people who were hurt. Please be with the families and friends of those who were killed. Please be with Nathan’s family and friends. Please be okay. Please be okay. Please be okay.’ I repeat these sentences in my head and feel unsure of who I am speaking to. Just–please. Jesus fucking Christ. Please.