The banner flashes on the TV. “Breaking News.” Another bombing. It’s somewhere I’ve never been, rarely heard of and probably cannot find on an unlabeled map, but still, I clench my jaw and think, “What a shame?”.
It’s like a stranger knocking on the door of my home. I don’t have to answer.
“We interrupt this program…”. A terror attack. It’s in my country. I’ve been to that city. I have friends there. I am saddened. I feel it in my chest.
The stranger knocks aggressively. The stranger will not be leaving.
The phone rings. I’m busy. I decline the call. It immediately rings again. It must be urgent, so I answer. “Are you okay?” asks the voice on the other end of the line. A pipe bomb. A mile from my home, near my church. I see my doctor’s office on the news. My heart aches. I want to cry.
The stranger begins to kick at the door. The door shakes on its hinges.
Now, I know what it’s like to see terror unfold in my own backyard – I’ve been to that place before. I was planning on going tomorrow. I have fond memories with my family in that neighborhood. I recognize that I feel scared. I feel confused. I feel angry.
I also know what it’s like to see terror unfold a thousand miles away – I cannot relate. The buildings; they are not familiar. The people; I do not know. I recognize fear and confusion on their faces, but I cannot relate. Now, I am a thousand miles away from someone who else who cannot relate to me; my fear, my confusion, my anger.
Today will still happen. Dressed for yoga, I grab my water and mat and head out the door. A short walk; 100 feet away. I open the door and feel comforted by the smell of eucalyptus. I sigh and feel slightly relieved. I go into the lavender room for practice and unroll my mat. I love my my mat. It makes me smile. As I wait for my teacher, I check in with my body. Tight. “Tense” is a better word. The woman from the front desk comes into the room. She apologizes and says the teacher is stuck underground. The trains aren’t running. Class is cancelled. I am angry. Not at class being cancelled, at the reason.
The door will not hold. The stranger intends to do harm.
We knew this was coming. We know there will be more. Terror anywhere is terror everywhere. Maybe you can’t relate. Maybe it’s just a knock at your door and you can ignore it. Maybe you’ve been there before and it gives you pause. Maybe it is your doctor’s office, or your church, or your yoga class. Maybe it’s the place your children giggled when you told them you were going the park. Maybe it’s the spot where you kissed your partner and said, “I cannot imagine being happier.” If it is, or if it isn’t it affects us all; whether or not we realize it.
I am beyond thankful that physical damage/injury seems to be minimal. I am beyond thankful for NYPD and all of those who are sworn to and do protect civilians in the face of terrorism and other incomprehensible threats.
I hear another siren outside. I worry. What now?
I will always worry.
Maybe we dared the stranger?
We dared the stranger, indeed.