Monday, April 20, 2009

columbine, thinking of you...

“Every year feels closer to what I once knew as normal. Life is a shoreline, a wet-dry line between normal and the awkward. The awkward piece is that to return to normal I must walk in the very doors that we frantically exited one spring day.” -K. Leyba, Columbine High School survivor & teacher.

April 20, 1999. I remember being in the crosswalk of my junior college heading from home to class and hearing the words "Did you hear about Colorado?" I rushed into the building where my class was and looked at the television. Columbine. That name tied a knot in my stomach.

My aunt was a public school teacher in Littleton, many of her past students were injured and some killed.

I sat in my comp 2 class wondering what had happened and wondering if my professor remembered her comment on my just-handed back editorial assignment about bullying in schools and violence in schools as something that "wasn't any worse than it ever was just more sensationalized." I wondered if she still felt as though I was buying into the "sensationalism". She told me I offered platitudes rather than solutions and that my writing was cliche (of course all of this was true...I was 19).

We (concerned citizens/people who wanted to reach out) drove around with our headlights on even during the day. As if we were all a part of a large funeral procession. Or as if we could shed a little light on some of the darkness.

Like any other big tragic touchstone in our culture you remember where you were, what you were doing etc. This was different for me. Maybe it was because I was a kid- a year out of high school. Whatever it was Columbine was jarring.

I logged onto the article on today to read about the stories of selected successful survivors of the trauma. In 2027 the legal depositions of the Klebolds and the Harris family will be available to the public, a judge locked them away until then. I wonder if they hold the answers. My guess is "no". There isn't an answer (as cliche and platitudinous as that may sound to my college comp teacher).

Thinking of you today Colorado, as if on anniversary cue.

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