Is it real? I still ask myself that sometimes, especially in the wee hours of the morning. I wake from a doze, sometimes still wrapped in the shreds of a dream, and I am disoriented. Can it really be real? Any of it? I’m confused because it seems so unlikely.
If you had asked me the day before the murders if I thought Manling would ever do such a thing, I would have said, “No. That’s crazy!” Twenty-four hours later my world was shattered. I don’t know what to believe- about Ling or about anyone or anything else. I was trained to study people, you know. I knew the boys like a favorite book, read over and over again. I never felt that I really knew Ling. I’m not sure anyone did. I tried very hard, but just could never understand her. That said, I still never imagined that she would ever hurt anyone, let alone commit such violent and atrocious murders.
Since I can’t understand, I sometimes wonder if it really could have happened. I knew them. They were three wonderful people. It doesn’t make sense that anyone would take away their lives. Just like that. Gone. No chance to say goodbye. No chance even to ease their way or give them comfort. Even looking at them at the viewing didn’t make it feel true – not really. It wasn’t them. They weren’t in there. Everything that made them who they were was missing. And how could they all be gone at once? Ridiculous. Absurd.
But that isn’t the worst of it – that feeling of unreality in the middle of the night. The worst is when I wonder if they were real. So much love, such a bright light. Did I really have that for a while? Or did I dream it up to give shape to my universe? It’s easy to slip into a dream, you know. Staying rooted in the here and now is harder, especially when you don’t much like the reality that you live in. I don’t like that feeling. Not at all.
There is a time in the wee hours that our ancestors used to call the ‘witching hour’. I always used to think of it as midnight, but I think now it’s 2 or 3 in the morning. That’s the time when primal fears wake and we need to comfort ourselves with lights or superstitions. Things are too quiet and the dark is thick. Too easy to think. The imagination runs willy nilly down paths we may not wish to travel. And sorrow wells up like a fountain – sometimes I feel like I may drown. Is it real? It’s 2:15 am, smack in the middle of the ‘witching hour’ and I just don’t know. Maybe.