By Amy Cook
My friend, newly returned from abroad, is texting our group about being out of sync with time.
It is Sunday morning, and “mass shooting” is trending again. I am scouring Twitter; what is Club Q, and how do these hashtags ribbon themselves together? As the minutes wear on, I have to mute the texting. Five people are dead in Colorado. How many are injured —how many lives forever destroyed? As my friend complains about her jet lag, I rage, silently, about the cavalier cruelness of indifference. Turn on the fucking news, I want to beg. It is difficult not to despair.
The press conferences begin. Another Sunday morning that I’m spending in pajamas, watching people in charge explain the soundless, unfathomable grief of a community. Officials who haven’t slept, thrust in front of microphones, police chiefs and mayors and surgeons in dirty clothes. These are the helpers today. You’re not going to see the governor—he has COVID, again. But our loss is his, too. He is a part of this pain.
We all know it could have been us, at a club like that, the thrum of the music causing every late-night heart to beat as one. Until a gunman walks in and fissures our lives; before and after. We have seen it happen, and we continue to take the risk. Even as the danger increases, we go out. We perform and we dance. We get married. We make families. We bury our dead and we keep the celebration going. We dance on our graves.
The governor and his husband have two little kids.
My friend texts, now that she ordered a pizza last night, but it’s sitting in the lobby of her building. The jet lag and a glass of wine confused her to believe she’d already eaten. A neighbor saw the food downstairs and figured that something was wrong.
I turn my thoughts to the neighbors in Colorado, spying unread newspapers on the stoop, knocking on the door, to make sure everything is okay. Making sure the dog is walked and the children are fed, and that there isn’t a terrified babysitter, still sitting on a couch, waiting for victims to come home from a night of dancing.
My friend texts a picture. She has retrieved her food from the lobby. It’s a pasta dish, and also a pizza, with arugula, pepperoni, prosciutto, and crushed red pepper.
Everyone on the thread stops responding.
Why is it always Sunday? Saturday night is free.
Amy Cook is an MFA candidate at the Rainier Writing Workshop. Her work has been featured in 13 literary journals, magazines, and anthologies. Affiliations: 2021 Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop (Advanced), NYCGMC alum, Lambda Legal.