On Tragedy

The feelings come in like house guests, starting with shock.

Shock is like a lightning strike: quick and seemingly out of nowhere. Its speed catches you off-guard and the stress starts seeping into your veins, down your spine and into the air. It doesn’t care if you’re not ready. It’s here and it’s going to push you until you take notice.

Then, denial.

Denial is like anesthesia: numbing is its prerogative. It tries to drown out the shock. It grasps onto any faint shred of hope that might still be there. It reaches to the farthest corners, it believes that anything could happen. It also believes that this could never happen. It refuses. It objects, it rejects any and every logic for as long as it can.

And then, a party of every possible emotion.

Uncertainty is the chill down your spine. The “what if”-s, the whys and hows. It tries to make sense of a future that nobody can see. It tries for clarity, like wiping away the fog on a cloudy, broken mirror. It’s the shaking in your knees, the quiver in your lips. It’s cold and dim, like an unending tunnel.

Anger is the blood rising into your face. The “how could this happen?”, the “this is crazy!”, the blinding rage that seeks a person, place, thing to set fire to. It’s the desire to break bones, it’s the burn and heat of every last neuron that’s looking for the entity, any entity, responsible for this. The need to blame, the pointing finger that exclaims “this is all your fault”.

Grief is the storm clouds from your eyes. The sound of your heart breaking into a hundred pieces, the uncomfortable heaving in your lungs, the inability to breathe or even see. It’s the whirlwind of wanting to scream but having no sounds left in your soul. It’s the lens that makes everything look graying and desaturated, almost like a vignette that you never wanted.

This is the party that you’ve been haplessly thrown into. This is the party that comes into your home uninvited; you don’t know anyone, everyone is screaming, your ears are ringing, your eyes are stinging. It feels like an endless road. A bottomless pit.

And then, slowly, the party dies down. The guests start to leave one by one. All that’s left is the chaos of disarray, the sound of long-forgotten silence. Your muscles move faster than your thoughts as you start to pick up the metaphorical pieces. Your hands grasp what remains – the faded colors of what was once shining sparks, the shadows of forgotten smiles, the broken bits of nostalgia, the quiet of memories.

And then, you realize that one guest remains.

It’s the light sitting in the horizon, the gentleness and warmth of the rising sun. The certainty of things to come, the comfort you thought would never arrive. It sits in the far corner, you wonder how long its been there.

It introduces itself as acceptance. You look at it with apprehension.

It lets out a sigh but smiles at you anyway.

I dedicate this to Kim Jonghyun; may your soul find peace.

You did well, thank you.


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