I stalk in, annoyed. “Yes?” He should be asleep.
His upturned face is open and unlined. For a week now we’ve kept him away from TVs, turning off radios so he can’t hear the awful news pouring in on us from every direction.
170 injured… three dead… eight-year old… manhunt… shot dead…
“Can we go to the park tomorrow?”
I shake my head and his face crumples. Before he begins to complain, I quickly sit on the side of his bed and take his hand.
“No, tomorrow we’re going to do something even more fun!” I try to inject as much enthusiasm into my voice as I can – for his sake. “You know what we can do? We can bake a huge… great… CAKE!” I poke his tummy with every word.
He chortles and smiles, his anger like a cloud briefly covering his sunny personality.
I hurry back downstairs to the living room, where my parents sit, hunched over and broken, their wide eyes glued to the TV.
“…late on Thursday when a police officer was killed on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus. Police chased the suspects, who threw bombs and exchanged gunfire with police, seriously wounding one officer.”
I take hold of mom’s hand. It’s cold, limp, but she smiles a little, kisses my cheek. We cling to each other like survivors of a shipwreck.
“The Massachusetts governor has warned civilians to stay indoors with the doors locked, and do not open the door for anyone other than a properly identified law enforcement officer.”
I’m awash with fear. My world has fallen apart. How much longer can this continue?