I imagine feeling the world slow down. Hearing a pop, and then suddenly, everything moving in slow motion. “It can’t be real,” I think, as chaos reigns all around me. “This can’t be real.”
But the screams heard from others right next to me bring me back to reality. The popping noise continues, but it sounds like it’s miles away. The screams are the things that are most real to me, hearing the anguish and agony in the voices of peers who were enjoying themselves moments before. Those moments feel eternities away.
I imagine inscrutable pain, my entire body on fire. I notice the terror on everyone’s faces, expressions of horror and tears, that I don’t completely register what’s happening to me. Liquid spilling from my body, too quickly. My body feeling like there will never be an end.
I feel my legs weaken, as I stumble towards the exit, away from the chaos, away from it all. The lights of the outside world act as a clutch for me. A sign of hope.
But my legs struggle, the top half of my body too heavy to be supported. I fall to my knees, then to my stomach. The pain is excruciating, making me want to scream out, so I do so. I don’t recognize my own voice. It combines with the screams from others, a collective, cacophonous symphony of pain and horror. An unforgettable sound. I wish I could close my ears.
I imagine being slowly engulfed by darkness. My body on the floor, my breaths getting heavier and more ragged. I attempt to drag myself closer to the door, the target within my sight. My arms drag across the wet floor, slipping on unidentifiable liquid, trying to pull my body towards the way.
But the pain becomes too much. I’m unable to move, as my breathing becomes slower and slower. The sounds of the room begin fading away, echoes of chaos on the edge of my consciousness. My vision begins blurring, the sight of the door becoming an amorphous blend of colors until the darkness at the edge of my vision begins dominating the light. Blackness engulfs me. The world stills.
If only it were a bad dream.
Author’s Note: I first heard about the Orlando tragedy when I was in bed on Sunday morning, and I became so overwhelmed with sadness and grief and frustration and anger. This is the product of that emotion.
I kept debating whether to post this, fear of being insensitive and unsure of this was appropriate, but this is how I deal with situations like this.
When will I feel safe again?