In Memory of 50 in Orlando
by Nelson Vicens
The first thing I remember, I stood at the precipice of tumbling steps leading down... down to the kitchen where I could hear my mother crying.
I wanted to save her, but could not descend the Great pyramid-esque distance down without first misjudging my step and tumbling down to the bottom, lit up by the light spilling from the kitchen. I began to cry louder than the sobbing of my mother. My father came to me and held me. I must have been two years old. His hands were covered in blood.
I remember sitting at the picnic table. I did not speak with those around me. I could not.
I was missing some fundamental aspect of communication. I was different and I could only tell from their stares.
They judged me. They hated me.
I threw a fist into the kid next to me and didn't stop until the aids came. It was the right hand. I suffered three broken fingers.
When I was 9, they said I was smart. Smarter than the others. If I wanted to, I could take a test and skip a grade. I said no. I did not want to be tested, even then. I wanted to be like everybody else. Whatever that meant. So, I said no and sat back in class, fell asleep with my head down.
My first love was full of hatred and confusion. He was in my class. Taller than the others, silent like me, but still everyone loved him. Because he was beautiful. Maybe if I was beautiful too, people would love me for no reason. But I didn't want to be loved, not by anybody. Except him.
I asked him to be my friend, he turned away and said nothing, but everyone around us laughed.
To this day I hear the laughter ringing, ringing like the lost echoes of the damned never-ending in my head. The laughter of my father as held me so tight, I felt the cold-finger tops of death. The laughter of my professors who saw so much wasted potential housed in a useless form with no ambition. The laughter of all those who ever thought they knew who or what I was. Worst of all my own tears forced by that hoarse wailing that comes to resemble laughter after the tears have run dry.
I've grown to see the faces, in a way, like plants. Grown from the soiled earth around me. Weeds, pesky weeds. The man who sold me an AR-15 did not laugh. His face was calm. An American flag behind him. Smiling. Also a weed.
Bullets are cheap on the internet. And you don't have to see any faces.
Planning, my heart does not beat any faster. It is too far gone for such trivial expenditures. The hate planted in me soothes my veins and cools my head. Let's me see clearly what must be done. I wonder if they secretly yearn for my attention.
The gatherings are so plentiful, the symphony so easy. I'll chop them all down, down to the bottom of the steps. Tumbling down into a plane where maybe I can be the stronger one. They'll see. The whole fucking world will see the meaning of The Land of the Free. The Home of the WEAK.
They will profit from this massacre.