I’ve always been a skittish person- someone easily scared by silly pranks or horror movies. These things have always made me jump in surprise, much to the amusement of my friends.
Now, though, my friends find no amusement in my fear. The reason is twofold: first, they feel the same exact fear as I do; second, our fear is not simply the result of a startling sound. It is based on the ingrained panicked feeling that each noise is a round fired, a body dropping, a community ruined. Each loud knock on the door, each textbook falling off a desk, each helicopter flying above is a reminder of the worst day of our lives, and our bodies tend to react that way. We stop and look at each other, hypersensitive to our surroundings and concerned with our classmates’ reactions.
At times, this can be extremely distracting to our education. When in the middle of our English Literature lesson, the construction workers outside bang their machinery over and over and over again and all we can think of is a gun going off over and over and over again, it’s not hard to see why this incessant trepidation takes its place in our chests. It sits in there like a weighted anchor, pushing us down, and it takes all of our energy to not fall right through the floor below.
A year later, and little has changed. A few days after the shooting, my first thought when entering a building was whether I would be able to escape. Last night at a soccer game at our school, when the stadium lights went out, my mind raced with the same terrifying thoughts. After months of introspection and therapy, most of us only have one question left: will we always be this terrified to live?