There was a shooting today. It happened right across the street from the building I work in. It happened at 9 a.m. on a stretch of sidewalk that, when I’m in New York, I pass every day between 8 and 9. The photos of the scene are eerie to me, because they are things I know so well. There’s the drugstore where I buy a drink on my way to work. There’s the brewery where we had our office Christmas party. There’s the crosswalk where I broke the heel on my shoe and no one even honked at me, not even once, as I hobbled slowly across the street after the light had changed. There’s the back of the building I work in.
I’m very glad I wasn’t there. And I also feel a little guilty for not having been there, like I was unwittingly bailing out. And I’m also a little surprised at how much it shook me up. I have been checking the news obsessively today.
The bodies on the sidewalk. It makes you redefine the space. Where I’m accustomed to see a line of tourists, even early in the morning, I see a slight man in a neat suit When I’m back there in a little over a week, I’m going to be thinking about it when I walk by. I’ll be thinking two people died here. In the picture I can’t get of my head, someone is standing over the man in the suit, who looks almost as if he were taking a nap on the sidewalk. A little off to the side, two people are holding the sheet to cover the body like a flag or a banner in a parade.
They closed the streets all around our office. No one could go in or out. They put the office on lockdown while they tried to account for everyone. I have this all on the report of a coworker who took a different route than usual to work this morning and ended up walking right into the scene just after the shooting happened. She didn’t know what had happened. She saw police swarming and a woman running away crying.