Berlin, Chicago.

posted in: Paean 17
Christkindlemarket, Chicago, 2010. Photo: Wikipedia.
Christkindlemarket, Chicago, 2010. Photo: Wikipedia.


That’s a picture of the beloved Christkindlemarket in Chicago, just ten minutes from my door if I hop a cab. I could walk there in twenty. Last year, I asked Claus if he wanted to go, it being Christmas, him being German, and the Christkindlemarket being pretty. I told him it’s the largest Christmas market in the country and is full of delicious smells and good people-watching. We went ice-skating instead, but we might’ve gone. It’s so close.

Today, a man drove a truck into the Christkindlemarket in Berlin. He did this to pledge allegiance to a cause and to a political leader. He wanted to make a statement, you see.

Twelve people are dead. Forty-eight people are injured. When I hear “injured” I think about how “injured” means “broken arm” and “concussion.” It also means “in the ICU, on a ventilator, with a swelling brain, paralyzed.” That sort of injury is what happens when a truck drives into a crowd of people.

Claus lives in Berlin. Claus didn’t go over to the Christkindlemarket today, but he might have. He’ll go see his mother outside of Hamburg on Sunday; surely he’ll take her a gift. He could’ve gone to the Christkindlemarket in Berlin, not far from his home. He didn’t, though, so Claus is not dead or injured.

But someone’s Claus is.

Last night, Sophie texted me. In a awful coincidence, the very day we were talking about my desire to get a cat and her deep, abiding love for her own two cats, one of them, John, experienced heart failure. He’s at the emergency vet even now, in a glass cage, on oxygen. He’s not aged. He was not ever visibly infirm. We don’t know what’s going to happen. Soph and Luke do not have the thousands of dollars it is costing to care for John in this way. It’s just… It’s so hard.

To the man who drove the truck today:

Did you ever have a cat who got sick? Did he die? Did you feel so, so sad? Don’t you think that life is so hard, so hard anyway, without purposefully causing more pain? We don’t have to make more suffering. You don’t have to do that. Your brother doesn’t have to do it. I don’t. None of us.

Things we love get sick. We are disappointed and crushed a hundred times a day. It’s all so hard already. Please, please, please.

Come on, John. Come on, injured ones. Pull through.