It’s been a few days now and still the horrors have not faded from my mind’s eye.
Every time I walk by that exact same place, I get pulled back in a searing flash. That not-so-distant reality. Vivid. Jarring.
Oh how I wish I could forget…But the memory lingers much like the mist rising from the steaming coffee carefully poured into my extra large Ursula coffee mug in the mornings.
Familiar, but on the periphery of existence. Of reality. Of awareness.
Before it fades right before my eyes. Into nothingness. Into silence.
I can only ask myself, “Did it really happen?”
And then the smell.
Assaulting my nostrils. My humanity.
Even though it’s now just a distant memory, it instantly evokes that feeling deep in the pit of my stomach.
The bottom falling out. Falling into nothingness. Down. Down. Down.
And the sights.
They cannot be erased. Etched boldly. Clearly. Vividly. I don’t think I’ll ever get over it. I don’t know how I can.
The bodies. So many of them. Hundreds upon hundreds. Piled upon each other. Quiet and serene. Unmoving.
I keep telling myself that they’re just sleeping. At repose. At rest. But I know that’s a lie. They weren’t asleep. They never were.
It’s the lie I tell myself to blunt the sting of finality.
It’s the lie we often tell ourselves, isn’t it? To assuage the guilt. The crushing guilt. The shame. And the knowledge – that we are responsible for it in our own way.
But I know it was my fault. It was all my own damn fault. I am responsible.
I did it.
I put out the apple cider vinegar.
I added the few drops of dish soap – the destroyer of surface tension.
I put the cover on top, knowing that there was only one way in, and no way out.
I did it knowing exactly what the outcome would be.
All those dead fruit flies.
I’m so sorry.
But there was no other way.
This is the burden I will carry with me. Forever.