“You think you would die if it happened to you. You hear stories and shake your head in an effort to knock the images out of your head. You click the news off, turning the channel to daytime tv, and pretend that these things only happen to other people. The horrible truth is… though everything collapsed around you, though your chest cracked open and your heart broke in two, you didn’t die. Somehow your lungs keep working and your heart continues beating. The horrible truth is that you are still alive… and they aren’t. And there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.” I can barely whisper as I finish.
Tears pour furiously down my cheeks and I wonder if I’ve gone too far.
I chance a look around the room, and see soft nodding in response.
My eyes meet hers in that moment. One tear escapes down her cheek, and she quickly wipes it away. She smiles sadly at me, and I've never felt such affection for someone I've just met. I look down at my tightly clasped hands and strain to remember her name. Anne. She said her name was Anne. When the circle waited for her to talk, she could only give his name and birthday in a whisper. She is old enough to be my mother, and I her child, I remember thinking.
I look back up at the room and find her staring at me from across the circle. Her furrowed brow raised up in concern; her eyes searching my face. "I know." She whispers across the room, her eyes never leaving mine.