First there was the shock-shock, which I would describe as a blanket of cotton, a fog, a zoned-out staggering thing. I am not sure how long this stage lasted, but it began to ebb when the nice women at the crisis center gave my five year old and her sisters their crime-victim quilts, hand-made, with such kindness.
The quilts underlined the permanent nature of the gift–beautiful crime victims. Undoable. Irrevocable.
Our story seemed one way for years, then just as things got safer because we knew and could protect them
The truth rolled over us, applying permanent tattoos everywhere.
I did not realize I had a thrill-seeker, risk-taker issue until the months of hunger, tears, and fighting were over…all technically either lost or a draw. Until after I wrote the book. Until after people began to disappear.
By then I had begun to walk through cold water.
Now I know why I do it. I do it because…I do it because
Because when I walk in cold water I can see you there
Through the dust
The crush of angry humans
The agony of your bedraggled well-wishers.
Your own pain indelible on your bloodied face
Dying for me
In cold water.