Monday, November 22, 2010

Do You Remember Where You Were?

The pink pillbox hat would soon be covered with his blood and we would all of us know in a heartbeat that Camelot was closed and shuttered.  Nothing made sense that day.  My brother located me in the foreign language laboratory where I was pretending to care about learning to speak French.  I don't know how he found me.  I was unaware that he even knew my schedule.  But there he was standing in front of me.  Tears were rolling down his face and he was trying to speak. 
I took off my headphones just in time to hear him say, "He's dead."  Somehow I knew he wasn't talking about our father, who had years left to live, or about any other relative or even about some movie star we both admired.  I knew just from looking at him that, indeed, he was dead.  Nevertheless, I asked in true little sister fashion, "Who?"  "The President," he said.  "They shot him.  He's dead."  I got up and together we walked from the language laboratory and onto a campus where thousands of people - students and teachers and custodians and visitors - walked slowly from place to place weeping.  People gathered during those first few days not to talk but to just gather.  And wander pointlessly from place to place.  Theaters closed and the country knew coast to coast sadness.
That's where we were and I will never forget that day.

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