You never really know how this day is going to hit you until it gets here. Leading up to today, I thought I would be OK - and for the most part, I am, just not as OK as I thought I'd be. That's a pretty convoluted sentence, but in a world where tragedies like this occur, I believe the convolution of a sentence is the least of our worries.
This is a significant anniversary. After this year, only a handful of students will be left at Virginia Tech who lived through this day. In part, that is the beauty of college, it is always changing, evolving, never static. And maybe, just maybe that's what we need. Like ashes spread over the ocean, we've been released - a symbolic gesture of letting go. We move forward, but always remember.
I went to work today, trying to occupy my mind with the trivial moments that make up any job. But those moments in between, the moments I had to myself to stop and think, I could not help but find myself back on that cool Monday morning. I wore maroon and orange, more for myself than anyone else. I felt a little exposed, even though I knew no one would ask me about it. Would people notice the orange and maroon ribbon that has been tied to my antenna for the past 3 years? Would they see the Virginia Tech sticker and license plate and put it all together? Would people silently feel sorry for me? I look around for others wearing maroon or orange, but am greeted with a sea of white, blue and pink. It's hard not to feel a little alone.
I found myself thinking about the small details that day. About taking refuge at a friend's dormitory at Radford. Ordering pepperoni and jalapeño pizza while watching the news. Wanting to throw my pizza at the television screen at the disservice the media was doing to my beloved school.
For a while, almost every conversation I have had with someone that migrates to the topic of my college education centers around what happened 3 years ago today. This has happened less and less as time is turning these wounds to scars. I hated those conversations. I just masked my feelings and tried to change the subject. With these conversations happening less frequently, it seemed the world was moving on, and through that, so was I.
...but that was before today.