No Words

We wandered around as if we’d been sedated. Grocery shopping and school drop offs were done quietly, hugs at the school gate lasted longer. I stood in the vegetable section of the supermarket and watched people cry with strangers, they shook their heads and agreed that there were no words. A girlfriend of mine sat down next to me and said “I’m not talking”. I immediately knew what she meant, I’d been thinking the same thing all day. Talking about it, made it somehow sound flippant. I walked behind two women as they recounted the absolute tragedy of the Spanish family “they lost three, they only have one now”.

I thought about my four little travelers. About talking about them like dinnerware. “I used to have four of those plates, I only have one now”. I tried to imagine one of them left, but you can’t, you can’t imagine.

A girlfriend sent a text “I’m sitting in the school car park crying”, we arranged to meet. As we sat together outside of the coffee shop, our conversation somehow lost its timing. Intermittently one of us would stop mid sentence, unable to finish. There were conversations like ours happening all around us. Qatari men shook their heads, the staff behind the counter told me they were going to church that evening to pray for one of their congregation.

A women walked past in a dress that made me look twice, and in amongst the unspeakable I found myself thinking the ordinary. “I love her dress” I said it out loud without thinking. She disappeared down the escalators. I noticed her again, twice, she wandered by from one direction and then another. Was she lost? We made eye contact and I attempted to smile “I really like your dress”. Her french accent wasn’t surprising, she was the perfect stereotype, late forties, sophisticated yet casual and elegant. She told me she’d made the dress herself.

“Ive watched you walk past several times and each time I’ve admired it”

Her eyes flickered, she was about to cry. She shook her head.

“I cannot concentrate this morning, I keep forgetting what I’m meant to be doing. I cannot stop thinking about the children. This fire, it is too…” her voiced trailed off.

“We all feel the same” I said.

No words.

There it was again. No words.

As we made our way across the park this evening I couldn’t help but look back at the people making their way to the vigil. Abayas and thobes, skirts, suits and headscarfs, we were a multitude of skin colours, accents and origins – all gathered for the same reason. We needed some way of showing support, we needed to share our grief. Many of us sat in silence, and then the words came in the form of prayer and a Haka. We held each other tight. The second little traveler looked over towards the parents of the angel triplets.

“Why is the Mummy holding the stuffies?”

“They belonged to her babies”

No words.

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