Sunday, March 09, 2014

A Perfect Day

A twenty nine year old photographer that I'd never heard of died today. Twenty nine years old - he was born in 1985! Where were you in 1985? Where were you today? Right now there is a family whose world has just come crashing down over their heads. Does the pilot know who he killed today? Did the man who loaded the bomb this morning know where it was going to fall and what it was going to do? Would he have even cared?

I spent the day in London walking in a rare bit of sunshine, seeing your face in the crowds at every turn, wishing you were there. Life felt good, normal, safe. Away from the madness of the news and a twitter feed gone mad. You said it was raining and that you missed the sun, I would have chained it to your balcony if I could. I held the hand of a three year old girl who hadn't seen a merry-go-round since this damn war started. She wanted to play, to shriek with the kids. Her parents said they didn't want to spoil her, but then again it had been so long since things had been normal that how could they deny her? Maybe tomorrow. Maybe they would stop spoiling her tomorrow. But today she waved with delight as her father held her on the beautifully painted horse they were riding. It felt good to see something so right. 

I looked at her sweet face and remembered seeing a girl her age with the scars of leishmania, of another girl who had been burnt by an exploding heater in her pathetic tent. Of the mud, a lot of mud, and then images of her trying to pick her living through garbage to survive. Her parents were oblivious, but my mind was always somewhere else. Either with you, with the little girl enjoying her time in a civilised country, or with those children wading through the mud with scars on their faces. At what point did that bomb fall and kill that young man? That boy. I feel like everybody younger than me, even if by a few years, is still a child. It's something I'm noticing more often the older I get. What time did that bomb fall and kill him? Was it when we were still having breakfast? Before we left the house?

Was it when I was still waiting for you to see my first "Good morning" as my heart fluttered in worry waiting for the message status to go from "Delivered" to "Seen"? Was it later? As we sat on the train - the little girl's first train ride? She had a lot of firsts today. First time on the London Underground, first time in London, first time seeing the horse guards, first time seeing Big Ben, first time seeing a swan. Was it when we were telling her who the Queen was and where she lived? When was it that another young life thousands of miles away was snuffed out like a candle?

I was once in bed for over a month with hepatitis A. Nobody told my mother I was ill, but she phoned all the way from Saudi Arabia because she had suddenly become worried about me and felt that something was wrong. Did his mother also feel something at that moment when he left this world? How do we explain that? I know from experience that this kind of bond is there, when two people feel joined somehow, for better or worse. When words aren't even necessary sometimes. This kind of acute psychic link washes away all the dogmas, sharias, customs. It leaves behind that raw human experience of something we can't describe. And it hurts sometimes, a lot. So we get scared and dress it up, or dismiss it. But now it doesn't matter. Somewhere out there is a twenty nine year old man who has just been buried. That I think I love you doesn't matter, the swans and the sunshine don't matter. Even the giggles of a beautiful three year old girl don't matter. At this moment in time nothing really matters. What's the point? What can small people like us do against so much violence and fear?

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