So, I drove through Laramie today. Well, actually, I wasn’t the one doing the driving. The window of the passenger seat showed me the fields and the big rolling hills. And I wondered where the fence was. And I wondered how the people felt, still feel. Is it horror? Is it pain? Reality is harsh. You grow up. You live in a town. A place where something as vicious, as terrible, as downright disgusting as THAT could happen.
It was nighttime. Cold and snowy. Maybe like that night. The stars were out, more than you could ever think possible. It was beautiful. But I could feel the shame. When I saw Laramie on the signs, it made me cry. And I recall the most indelible detail of the crime scene. The sheriff said he could still see the tear stains on Matthew’s face when they found him.
The roads were icy. It felt dangerous. When I got uneasy I looked at the stars. The one blinking at me was the spirit of my grandmother. She protects me in times of need, times of discomfort. It was uncomfortable knowing what I know about Laramie. Weakens my faith in humanity, which is never a good thing. Ever.
We slept in the van on the side of the mountain. Mother Nature wouldn’t let us through. The wind whipped and I was so cold. I remember thinking, “Wow, what a bitter world, full of judgment and ignorance”. An incomprehensible act of violence sprang from this world. Almost too much to understand. How anyone. Could be capable. Of that.
When the mountain opened up, we went over. Slipping and sliding, slowly leaving Laramie behind. But I could feel it chasing me down. That cold lonely feeling of a cold mean world. We kept going. And Laramie stayed, with its hills and its fields and its fences. But I could still feel it. And I still do. Miles and miles and cities away. Don’t we all still feel it? We should. Dark and cold and lonely. Tied to a fucking fence.