2017-06-22 / Viewpoint

The VIEW from here

For whatever reason

Alex Petrie Staff Writer Alex Petrie Staff Writer Most of the time life changes gradually, a steady series of daily events that amount to some form of noticeable change. But sometimes life changes in an instant. Whether you’re ready for it or not. One second of your life can act as a hinge for a monumental shift. Like a trap door, yanking the bottom out from under your feet, changing everything you knew to be true or familiar or comfortable. It’s not fair when it happens. But, for whatever reason, it does.

Before I elaborate, I want to preface this by saying that I wasn’t sure whether I should write about this or not. It feels soon, but I have to be honest — I don’t know how I could possibly write about anything but this. Any other topic seems completely irrelevant, extraneous, inappropriate. Like it would be disrespectful to even consider talking about anything else. That’s the thing about those moments that change lives. They bring the things that matter into focus, leaving everything else blurred in the background.

Over the weekend, I watched one of these life changing moments happen. I watched as someone fell through one of those trap doors. Then I watched as the people around that person responded to the unfairness of it. I watched as the boys around me transformed into quick-thinking adults in the midst of a tragedy. Actions went from frenzied and harried yelps of denial into pragmatic functions of necessity. Everyone responded at once, pulled into the reality of the situation.

We’ve all known each other for nearly two decades. We grew up together. And then, Friday, we grew up together again. Over the years, things have come and gone, events have transpired, and we’ve all changed into the people we are today. But, for whatever reason, we were all supposed to be right where we were in that moment of transition. For whatever reason, we were each meant to experience this thing. It wasn’t fair, but it happened. And we reacted. We’re still reacting. Looking for meaning and begging for the injustice of it to be some kind of nauseating dream.

It knocks the wind out of me every time it replays. I can’t stop thinking about it. About him. About what he’s thinking and feeling. About whether there was anything any of us could have done differently or better. I tell myself that there isn’t, but the mind reels. I just thank God he’s alive. That his family still gets to hold him, to talk to him.

Regardless of our preparation, our readiness or quick thinking, regardless of fairness, these moments still happen. For whatever reason. And we’re left to pick up the pieces. All I’ve gleaned so far is that there’s no use looking for reason, because we won’t find it yet. The only thing we can do is realize that these are the moments that are meant to bring us together. That we’re here to support one another, that we’re here to help each other. And the rest just blurs into the background.

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