Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Unreality of Tragedy

Just a little heads up before you read any further. This is not a movie review, or some humourous anecdote, or even me complaining about some stupid insignificant thing. I am not trying to make you laugh here, or let you know whether or not a movie is worth you money; this is a reasonably serious post. You have been warned.

I have been given cause to ponder the unreality of tragedy lately. If you know me in the mundane world then you likely already know what this is about, and if you don't, well I'm not going to elaborate on it too much. I will say that this did not happen to me, but happened on the periphery of my reality; happened in a place that I cannot help but see.

What happened was an accident; a senseless, pointless, stupid, shit happens kind of accident, and someone died as a result. There are questions of exactly what happened, whether or not it could have been prevented, what punishments should be doled out, but that's not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about the unreality of what happens next.

Of course on the night of the incident the home was the center of attention. There was police, CSI, and lots of media on the street all night along with bright yellow “Do Not Cross” tape and glowing orange flares blocking off the entire street. By morning though it was all gone, and if you didn't know better you would not know that anything had happened there. Outside that home everything was normal, but inside something happened; time stopped.

As far as I know no one has been back in the house so while time continues on for the rest of us, we go to work, shop, go to the movies, move on with our lives like nothing ever happened, the time bubble inside the house sits and waits. The inside of that house now exists outside of reality.

Assuming that you have never actually had to, can you imagine having to go back into a place where someone you love died like that? The last items they used still sitting out where they left them? Perhaps there is the beginnings of a meal that will never be made now still sitting on the counter in the kitchen, perhaps the unwashed plates of that person's last meal still sit in the sink waiting to be washed. The echo of the deceased remains until someone goes in there and it hits them.

Possibly even worse than the remains of their life and the last hours of it is the blood. There will be blood on the floor, now dry, where they suffered their injury and then were taken into the house while waiting for the ambulance to arrive. Unless I am mistaken (and personal experience tells me that I'm probably not), no one will have cleaned that up, so not only will these people be coming back to the echo of their lost loved one, but to a horrible glaring reminder of how they died.

I can see it all in my mind's eye, and I wonder if this is the result of my being a creative and therefore something all creators experience. Is it something that everyone sees in their minds, or if it's just me. Am I the only one that can clearly see the inside of this home that I have never been inside of? That can see the crumbs on the plate from that last baloney sandwich? That can see the partially read book that will now never be finished? Is my imagination just that overactive?

Hundreds of fictional people have fallen before the force of my keyboard. Heroes, villains, and the innocent; I have slaughtered them all with the tapping of my fingers, but somehow that empty house, frozen in a nightmare as it is, seems strangely unreal to me now. It's like a bomb wrapped up like a birthday present; it looks harmless, inviting even, but once you open it time will start to flow again, and the horror of that frozen time will unleash itself upon you

I know this seems a bit of an odd post for me as I am usually full of sarcasm and complaints, but it's kind of been haunting my mind since it happened. I see those flowers and candles on the doorstep and cannot help but think about how that place is now haunted, not by a ghost necessarily, but by an echo of a tragedy just waiting to make someone hear it all over again. It doesn't matter how long they wait to go back, the house will sit there frozen in time, exempt from reality, until someone enters it, and experiences it all over again.

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