Sitting just outside the kids’ room, on the cold tiled floor in the hallway, scrolling through articles on my phone. Silently scanning Newtown coverage, reading Newtown stories, seeing Newtown pictures as my son restlessly attempts sleep, deep within his bottom bunk.
“Ima, can you tuck me in?”
I don’t even bother wiping the tears from my face; it’s soaked and the evening chill stings my cheeks as I stand up.
He’s looking at me while I don’t make eye contact, lifting his little body up with one hand and stuffing the blanket underneath his back, the way he likes it. Tight like a hug.
I smooth it out on top of his belly and look at him. Kiss the place where his cheek and his nose meet.
What does this child know?
Does he realize my face is wet from tears as I kiss him good night?
Does he assume that I’ll always be there, even if I’m not?
Is he aware of the hidden demons that take shape around the world while we’re busy playing? Busy living?
Do American first graders practicing school lockdowns know why they’re lining up and locking doors?
Is there a way to fix it all, fix it like my son so passionately pretends to, fix the pain, the mess, the loss, the inevitability?
What might our children know?