I came back from my lunchtime run today (prepping for another race October 1…getting so close!) floating on that careless feeling where all that matters is exhaling and inhaling, one foot in front of the other. I stretched inside after running the canal because the ground was wet with rain in the park. I switched shoes for sandals and enjoyed my toes’ new freedom from sweaty shoe habitat. I dressed slowly, sipped cold water from the gym fountain and took the elevator back up to my floor, looking forward to the pizza lunch that my running earned me after pushing myself hard half an hour earlier.
I walked into our office and across the television screen flashed the headline, “Shots Fired at Montreal College.” Helicopter cameras caught images of students running out of the building, and stone steps covered in blood smudges, with a white body bag and cop car at its base. I was overwhelmed. The reporter didn’t have many answered except that shots had been heard and seen just minutes earlier through the halls, they were still being fired, and with students still inside. Police cars and ambulances surrounded the campus as men dressed in bullet proof vests with guns drawn moved closer to the old stone walls.
Nobody else in my office seemed to notice the news, and I couldn’t make myself open my mouth to say something. Finally, a girl noticed and asked me what was going on. As I told her, my leg started shaking and I felt tears threaten to well up. I noticed myself furiously spooning my yogourt into my mouth at a rapid-fire pace. I don’t know anyone at that college, but I watched students just like me running as fast as they could out of their school to anywhere. I felt panicked, like all I wanted to do was run too, run to someone I love and collapse crying on them.
The images are so scary, and continue to play in a loop on the screen beside me. There are more ambulance stretchers and blood and other shaky-voiced students telling the world how theirs was turned awry this afternoon, less than an hour ago.
I’m scared, even though I’m in my chair at my desk.