I am become death, the destroyer of worlds
It is, as Oppenheimer realized all those years ago, a heavy burden to bear. A weight unlike any other. Enveloping. Encompassing. Crushing.
It doesn’t always start out that way. I didn’t start that way. A small decision here. A flippant, careless choice there. Insignificant in its execution, almost callous. Thoughtless. The summation of all that came before leading to the now.
It seeps into my everyday, the mundane. That slippery slope. Cajoling a memory from the hidden recesses of my slumbering mind, lighting the synapses which we prefer unlit, igniting that chest-gripping feeling of remorse. Of regret.
Questioning of self. Of morality.
To know that lives, thousands of them, were impacted by me. That I could have saved them.
Spared them. But I didn’t.
My own grand fortune displayed for all to see. For me to see. Health. Happiness. Life. I sit here, basking in sunshine, yet I am a man troubled by the past few weeks. That vice gripping within my chest wall.
The visions assault me. Over and over. Again and again. Stuck on repeat. The endless loop of life and death laid bare for all to see. For me to see. For us to see.
Who gets to decide? Who is the grand arbiter of life?
I had asked quietly, softly: “Are you sure?”
The instant, edged response was, as expected, “yes”.
Cold. Callous. Certain. Devoid of emotion. It was firm. It was decided.
She didn’t know. And how could she? She hadn’t seen the devastation of such action before. The fallout.
Life can be a cruel teacher. Within days, she too felt the same burden. Surrounded by death. Stillness.
But it was done. There was no going back. There is no going back.
We have committed Antacide.