Looking back, I see ashes clumping in the grass; the trees bare like the aftermath of a fire. The dog barking isn’t something I remember and neither is how far the sun had set. Holding open the gate to the fenced-in yard I only notice the sounds of screams and yelling, pulsing out from the poisoned heart of the “home” with waves of toxic blood. It sounds so far away as if for dramatic effect while also unmistakably clear and close. Even knowing what came after doesn’t change how I felt and continue to feel when reliving it, and it’s a curious thing to look back on. Although I feel like I’ve moved passed it I also have to wonder how many of the decisions I make are just side-stepping and wanting to avoid anything resembling that. Am I a part of that? Do I still carry it with me? Are there moving pictures of that night in my wallet where a normal person would put faces they love?
That’s the worst of it: the not knowing. Like having to second guess if you’re a monster or doing the right thing, I don’t know what I’m not. I’m probably a little of both enough to divide the people I’ve known and keep the one constant, myself, trying to make sense of it while also trying to understand my own identity.
Like grotesque, macabre statues preserved from the heat and debris of the eruption I see what stands from the event. Nothing but reminders are those empty shells while the people that made them have lived ever since, and while they aren’t same as they were it’s still their faces, twisted and sick, that I see. If I touch the echoes they dissipate in to ashes, but they also rebuild like horrific snowmen with perfect accuracy.
This isn’t the only Pompeii I remember; different grave-yards surrounding the same haunted house. I simply can’t, whether for my childish benefit of running from it or letting go, forget. I can’t learn to re-love the faces, I can’t learn to excuse the act, and I can’t forgive the people who failed to turn when the could quite obviously see the approaching curve. If I could I still wouldn’t, because I don’t think it’s OK to treat people however you want because you think blood is such a strong leash.