From the Archives
(June 2005) Jezusf*ckingHChrist what an unexpected lunch break! Started out irritated because I had to dash over to the credit onion to change some paperwork that they really should have had available online. Signed in and was reading an e-mail from a friend about a neighbor's teen who killed his parents with a single-load shotgun.
Single load. Multiple shots. That’s a lot of pent-up rage in a boy.
Got called to a carrel and was trying to shake the news off as I glanced at the woman in the next chair. She looked pretty distraught and I thought, huh, must have bounced some checks or had her credit stolen, poor thing.
The bank clerk and I were chit-chatting about the heat and how we both need a vacation and whatnot, making small talk, but then we couldn’t help but overhear the distaught woman at the next carral say, between newly sprouted hiccupping sobs, that her husband had kissed her goodbye at 7:30 this morning, told her he loved her, drove their daughter to school, then drove a few blocks and shot himself in the head, causing his car to swerve into oncoming traffic and kill two other people. And she just CAN'T understand why he didn’t TALK to her about whatever was going on because that was one of the reasons she married him in the first place—because they had ALWAYS been able to talk to each other about anything. Always. And he had a good job. Had just gotten a big promotion. And was so happy about it. And he was a happy guy in general. Really. And a good father. And her best friend. And now her daughter wants to know what she said that made her father kill himself.
Jezuskreeist I kept thinking This is not happening This is not happening This is not happening as I listened to the poor woman struggle to get her story out.
At this point I wasn’t even pretending to write on my form anymore and the bank clerk and I were instead just staring at each other, frozen. Then this huge tear rolled down her face. And then I couldn't help myself and one rolled down mine too and we just sat there, staring at each other and listening to the poor woman explain that she needed to figure out how to access her dead husband’s bank accounts because they had bills due that she needed to pay.
Finally, another clerk walked up and put her hand on the women's arm and escorted her to some place down the back hallway “where you’ll be more comfortable" and the bank clerk and I just sat there staring at each other until I finally signed my completely insignificant paperwork and got the heck out of there.
Didn’t even say anything about what happened either because all I wanted to do was keep my sh*t together till I got out to my car. The clerk did say “Take care” as I left though.
There was no way I could return to campus after that and all the little things that seemed so important this morning seemed so digustingly insignificant then anyway, so I drove out of town to find some country roads instead and just looked at grass and breathed for a few hours.