Firing a gun does not make me feel powerful. Firing a gun does not make me feel safe. Firing a gun does not make me feel large or small or in control. But firing a gun is loud and concussive, it requires my focus, and just after I fire, the smell of gunpowder fills the air.
Grief is a knot that lives in my chest. I have grieved under fireworks in the past, blasts thundering through my lungs as the sparkle faded. I have grieved under fireworks, the smell of gunpowder thick in the air, and the booming loosened the tightness between my ribs. It finally allowed me to gasp air and cry.
So again, the smell of gun powder fills the air. I try to ease into the trigger pull, to let the recoil be a surprise, then marvel at the new hole that appears in the paper target. But mostly I just let each shot that I fire loosen the tightness between my ribs. It finally allows me to breathe slowly and stop crying.
I have to think “I will be crushed to death by a bus,” or “my sister will die in a car wreck,” or “my mother will have an aneurism,” in order to be okay. I have to think about how peculiar this condition of consciousness is in order to accept its vanishing. I have to write it down and and leave it here for people or the process doesn’t get under way, it gets stuck, and I’d need fireworks every night.
I can’t imagine what it’s like closer to the center of this blast, to be closer to this death. I don’t have the right to. I want to be able to help, to soothe, but there’s fuck all anyone can do, but be there and grieve, and say things like, “it’s okay that it’s not okay.” That’s all I know how to say.
Firing a gun does not make me feel powerful. But it allows me to breathe.