(AUTHOR’S NOTE: When things like this happen, I write something. It’s what I know how to do. It helps me think, it helps me understand, it helps me breathe. This piece is not meant to get into the politics of the situation. It is simply meant to reflect, to try and find some healing. – It was inspired by the coverage of the first return to Stoneman Douglas this past Sunday. I originally had it completely in first person, but it didn’t feel right to step into their places. I think it’s important to see them, to hear them, but this belongs to them. I am simply wanting to provide some kindness and hope through words. – I’m not even sure what to call this–Short story? Essay? Very unstructured poem? Whatever it may be, I hope that it speaks to you in some way. And remember, be kind, be positive, and fight the good fight.)
The sun is unyielding in its warm, late afternoon show. The bright star seems to have one message with two different variations: I’m still shining, and I am so, so bright. Try not to be overwhelmed; and I am still shining. I will not stop. I promise.
How did they get here? It’s been eleven days since they were here. These buildings were just buildings before. But they’re different now. It’s as if they are alive, grieving with them. So maybe it’s good to be here. Maybe the buildings need them to occupy their halls, as much as they need to be within their walls, finding shelter among them.
Everyone is here, or so it seems. They’re all surrounding each other. They’ve known each other for so long, and yet now, so many other people have been let in. They’re watching, whispering, questioning. It hurts sometimes, doesn’t it? They feel too close. They say too much.
But there are others. There are people who are truly listening, rising with them. Their hearts are here, somehow, as if they’ve gained a million friends. There are banners, notes from schools who may not have even known who they were before. But they are with them. They are the same as them, deep down. And like them, the others know there is a fight–none of them are oblivious to that. But in this moment, they’re just here. They’re just coming home.
And you’re all here with them too, aren’t you? You wouldn’t let them do this alone. Alyssa. Luke. Aaron. Jaime. Scott. Martin. Nick. Chris. Cara. Gina. Joaquin. Alaina. Meadow. Helena. Alex. Carmen. Peter. Are you here? Are you with them?
Of course you are. No one can stop you.
The sky is still our sky. The sun is still our sun. Perhaps things are different. Perhaps we have changed, their place has changed. But our hearts are still our hearts. When they go back to school this week–back home, you might say–it will be their school.
When they wake up tomorrow, there will be a rainbow resting over their school. That will be you, right? All of you. Each of you will have a little piece of color in that spectrum. And even when that rainbow dissipates, you’ll still be there. You’ll have a piece of this bright sun, the blue sky, the very air that hovers in Parkland. And you’ll have a piece of them, of all of us, forever and always.
We’re standing, we promise. We will stand for you.
Never again, okay?
*Dedicated to the 17 beautiful souls of Stoneman Douglas, and all the students and educators who are returning to school. You are strong. You are powerful. We are with you, and they are with you. Forever.*
***The article that inspired the mention of the rainbow.***
*Featured image created by me on Canva.com