Friday, February 01, 2013

I Saw a Sign

You don't expect to see the sign, but it's there.  It's just up the little hill from the traffic light, where Connecticut Route 34 simply disappears at what used to be US 6.  It takes your breath away, this sign does.  It speaks of being in a school zone, but you simply aren't sure how that can be.  How can that sign be there?

Yet it will always be a school zone.  Now and forever, even if they tear it down.  Even at this hour, in the dark, through a peaceful but chilly January night.  You know you're in a school zone, even if you don't want to be.  You pass Dickinson Drive, but there are cones stretched across the road.  The firehouse is there.  A couple of police cars sit off to the side.

You blink.  It's sad.  Eerie.  Serene.  It's tangible and, yet, not so.  Maybe, if you didn't know any better, if you missed the sign telling you what village you've stumbled into, then you might not know the difference.  But you'd have to really miss it.  The names are there.  The tributes to them all.  There's hope.  Hope that the tributes haven't faded like the post-September 11th flags.  Those names.  They all need to be remembered:

Charlotte Bacon, Daniel Barden, Rachel Davino, Olivia Engel, Josephine Gay, Ana M. Marquez-Greene, Dylan Hockley, Dawn Hochsprung, Madeleine F. Hsu, Catherine V. Hubbard, Chase Kowalski, Jesse Lewis, James Mattioli , Grace McDonnell, Anne Marie Murphy, Emilie Parker, Jack Pinto, Noah Pozner, Caroline Previdi, Jessica Rekos, Avielle Richman, Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach, Victoria Soto, Benjamin Wheeler, Allison Wyatt.

The news trucks are long gone.  Life has resumed.  Can it?  Has it really?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  They're all still gasping for air, hoping that the likes of the prying eyes are gone.  In that way, you feel bad.  Yet it felt like it was time, having driven up Route 25 from Stratford, home of Vicki Soto.  You feel like you want, even need, to do the drive, and go home.

In the darkness, the sadness is still there.  So, too, are the questions that will never be answered.

Why did this happen?

Why in Sandy Hook?

Why in Newtown?

You drive home.  Empty.

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