It’s late on Monday night. The windows are open so we can enjoy the mild weather. All day the birds have sang in the trees and we’ve heard cars drive up and down our street, but right now in the late evening everything is silent except for the occasional dog barking.
Inside the house all is quiet too. We sent the children to bed an hour ago. The girls, worn out from a busy day, fell asleep quickly. However, my son has been downstairs several times since he was tucked in.
Each time Will comes downstairs supposedly for a glass of water or to find a cat to cuddle with, but really he only wants to talk about what happened in Boston today.
“They found two bombs that didn’t go off, you know.”
“They say three people have died now.”
“The youngest person who died was an eight year old boy.”
It’s this last bit of information that really bothers Will. A boy died today while cheering at a sporting event. A boy, probably a lot like my son. And this boy died, not because he was sick, which would be something almost understandable, but because somebody did a horrible and hateful thing.
Children aren’t supposed to die. It’s a very firm, unspoken rule in the universe. Even my eleven year old son recognizes this rule: Kids should grow old. And today Will discovered that this rule gets broken all the time. Because kids do die and in tragic and horrifying ways.
My son has learned something that I didn’t want him to know yet, something that can’t be untaught. And now he lies in bed with older, disillusioned eyes staring at the ceiling, wondering if something like this could happen to him.
And all I can do is hug him tight and kiss his forehead. Because inside, I am asking myself the same question.