I heard the news on my way to the Women’s Life Center.
A shooting at Clackamas Communitiy College. Tears were pouring as I drove over the Oregon City Bridge. I thought of all those kids I see from time to time when I give Melody a ride because her car has broken down or she’s running late or she feels that she just can’t stand to ride the bus again.
And then of Melody. After she turned from the car, looking at me from dark, dark eyes under spiky purple and black hair, she would walk away in her ankle-length purple wool cape among the blue jeans and tattoos, looking from the back like a fairy princess in Doc Martins. Her long strides cut through the crowd like a knife.
I phoned the Women's Life Center and told Gramma Joan that I wouldn’t be there. Grandma Joan said she understood, as if there were any other answer, and I drove up to the campus.
It was a gray-on-green day, and the long curving drive to the hilltop campus was filled with parked cars, news vans, police cars. People milled around, walking toward the school, talking with each other, pulling news gear out of the vans. The mood was an odd mix of aftermath of a tornado and county fair. I felt like I was being pulled into a vortex of insanity.