Most mornings, I wake up to the sounds of breakfast already in progress: Pans shifting on the stove, cereal tumbling into hard plastic bowls, the last surge of water coming through the fancy coffee machine.
My husband wakes early, gets a fire going and stands in front of the stove rubbing his hands together as if a genie will magically appear and fork over a steaming plate of eggs Benedict.
“Morning ...” I'll say as I brush past him and reach for a mug from our precarious pile.
I won't commit to a “Good morning” just yet.
The kids crunch away at the cereal as their Christmas-delivered devices bleep frantically in a last-moment frenzy of activity before they must be set aside for the duration of another school day.
Aside from the sing-song voice on the television (which is on), no one has said another word.
My husband and I don't talk to each other anymore, either.
That's not true, really. But that's how it seems anyway, especially first thing in the morning.
He just hands me his phone -- usually with a shrug or an "I-don't-know-why-I-read-the-news" disclaimer -- and I come face to face with what's bothering him.
Last week it was ...
"Two-year-old shoots his mother with her own gun at Idaho Wal-Mart."
This week …
"Shooting at Paris satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, kills 12.”
“Have you see this?” he'll ask.
It doesn't matter what the headline reads, it feels as if the experience of it all has become unspeakable.
“No, I hadn't,” I say as I reach for the coffee.
Accident? Crime? Shooting? Death.
There's never a shortage.
Every day brings something we'd rather not see. Rather not know. Every day we are reminded of all that seems senseless, and virally so.
Neither of us wants to argue any of our usual points. We don't want to place blame or try to put it into context.
I skip over the comment sections more and more.
It's not about being right or wrong, I tell myself. It's about being neither without compassion.
Honestly, I don't know what to say.
This month we had two phone calls from school about worrisome incidents. Two 22 caliber bullets were found (a week apart) on my second-grader's school bus.
Questions were asked of the children:
“Did you see anything?”
“Do your parents hunt?”
Students were searched, asked to empty pockets. Lockers and book bags, as well.
Nothing was found.
The investigation will continue, claimed a sheet of paper sent home in a backpack.
We should feel better about that, I suppose. No other bullets. No gun. No apparent threat.
… But we don't feel better.
So much of this life boils down to some form of luck, good, bad or indifferent.
We don't speak about that, much, either. There's always someone waiting out in the world – maybe at the mechanic … or in the grocery store … or on the next treadmill at the gym – who will know exactly what's wrong in the world.
At one time or another, that person will be one of us, too.
What else can we do but keep on moving forward … and keep on hoping for the best?
Maybe tomorrow I'll wake up early and make eggs Benedict.