The Audience of Souls

What do you say to the dead?
Will you forgive me for living?

– Ronnie James Dio (1992)

There is a darkness here
You cannot imagine you cannot fathom
It speaks to me in tongues
Can you hear it?

I’ve built my tower of song
From words as bitter splintered bone
Gnarled and wretched, spiteful and harsh
I’ve cursed the vermin, the vermin of the earth
I’ve wished pestilence upon the foul and weak
Not just men, but women and children too
With a rusted blade across their throats

– AA Nemetheanga (2005)

The memorial meant to heal sometimes has the opposite effect.  It causes feelings of sadness and darkness that are somewhat palpable.  On seeing this memorial I felt a darkness and an ill-ease of a wound that isn’t going to heal.  The chairs, meant to represent the victims of this vicious attack, are set to face a reflecting pool that soothes the wounds.  Soothing, however, is not healing.  The water is only an analgesic as you traverse the great distance between 9:01 and 9:03.  This ensures that the wound remains, forever if it is deemed necessary.

Part of the healing is the ability to commune with those victims, to feel the pain they felt as they were taken from us in a singular act of evil.  However, this is not to be.  The chairs facing the water are separated from the living.  We are not allowed to go up to the chairs and view what the victims are viewing, to feel their pain and take it in as our own.  The living can only face the chairs.  The chairs face the living as an audience waiting for those living souls to explain their continued existence.  Their judgement is affected by the wounds that are soothed, yet forever open.

I pray for those souls lost in that great act of evil, and will hope that we can one day heal this scar inherited from a madman.  I pray that one day they can find peace and that the living can also find peace.

 

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