On Tuesday morning, I slipped into my usual seat, a few minutes early for my first class of the day. Spring break was still pressed in my mind, but it was a relief to shove back into the hum and hurry of another school week. I appreciate routines.
It was while attempting to brush pastry crumbs off of my sleeve, and finally giving up the operation as something woebegone, that I first saw news of Brussels. The city, cautious since the attacks on Paris in November, was now itself stricken; a group of terrorists, with the force of explosives, disrupted an airport. The rest of the day wore on in tallying; by Tuesday evening, 34 people were known to be dead and at least 230 were counted among those injured.
Gliding through contacts with a free hand, I spurted text messages to my sister. They were brief and slightly disjointed, the content of each elbowed out of the way as new reports continued to come in, beaming out of my smartphone’s tepid screen.
However, if she did see them immediately, then she did not have the chance to respond. Wrapping things up at a morning job, she shunted through all of her wonderful, ordinary humdrum.
On Tuesday morning, scores of men and women stepped into a building, with the assurance that comes from doing uneventful, everyday things. From my dusty corner in Texas, I hope that we are able to remember this, and that we may mourn out of it.
The lives pierced in Belgium are not merely numbers to be recorded, but fellows of ours who lived in the commonplace. May we recall that, and grieve for them as such; may we appreciate that this is not a routine.
Follow Kaitlin Ruiz on Twitter: @kaitlinruiz95