Time to turn the burner down to begin simmering the split peas.  After the soup stock first comes to a boil.  Dinner later.  Saturday.  We are home.

Perhaps it was a mistake to check the Chicago Tribune online so early in the morning.  With a cup of coffee.  Does the paper replace a cigarette?

The morning’s report included “5 teens shot across city Friday”.  Ages 14, 16 and 17.  The fourteen year old merits a separate story.

Maybe because he died Friday night in the front hallway of his home, a few feet away from the front steps where he was shot several times while talking on a cellphone.  Maybe because like other shootings our assumption he was a gangbanger goes against those who knew him as a young person, one who stayed away from gangs.  Maybe because his stepmother would have wanted to say “Happy Birthday” Tuesday, today.  He would have been 15.

I am struggling here, trying to get to the point.

My emotions are in solidarity, circling around a raw place in me.  It frightens me when that place is threatened by contact with the kind of things that created it.  Don’t touch.

The Tribune reporter makes a closing observation –

On the sidewalk near the crime scene, the father of one of the boy’s friends sobbed as he paced near a group of somber teenagers.

Without warning it has been touched.  Inside me, that place inside me.

I don’t care for it.  Over the years I have learned to be careful reading and hearing stories of the terrible things done to others.  I don’t want them to reach out, touching that deep place.

Someone said they think it’s PTSD.  From serving years in places hearing, seeing, being with those who suffer, dead and buried remain as stories, also circling, deep in me?  Years have passed.  I no longer work daily in Gary, Chicago or Detroit.  The stories still circle, just more distant in miles and memory.Bullet Proof Vest  PBS 2

But the father of the boy’s friend suddenly stretches out and touches this raw place.  That astonishing mix of grief, fear and anger he feels brings back mine.  Is it guilt?  I don’t want it but it’s there.  One unhealed wound made up of small rips and tears.

The man’s pain reminded me of one, a young man who was shot to death Christmas morning years ago in a home he had every reason to believe all is calm, sleep in heavenly peace.  But there it has simmered, to boil up again.  Yet raw.  Never done.

Near the crime scene.  Police will investigate it.  Friends will grow quiet near it.  The stepmother and family will have to figure out how to live there, live with it, walk past the spot and memory of a teenaged boy who once stood and talked there.

Violent death, violent shooting deaths.  Never expected.

Yes.  There is a cost to shootings.  They produce death.  And psychic pain.

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