One week in. This process just began for some people one week ago.
One week in, I was surprised on some days that I was still alive myself. I remember my first trip to the grocery store. I bought Pepperidge Farm Oatmeal Bread and a pound of butter. I wore butter colored Old Navy pants and a pink t-shirt. I saw a woman I knew. Her name is Jody Kimball. It took about 20 minutes door to door. Every minute was difficult and surreal. That was one week in.
I'm really sad to say that this has happened before. There have been other public shooters since Leslie's. And I think about her every single time. I think about all the best friends who have been left behind. They are part of the reason I started this blog.
But this one was different. It was different from the very second I heard about it, even though I didn't know then that it would be this kind of dramatically different.
I went to my friend Amy's that morning to babysit her daughter and my special baby bff, Sophie. This is the Amy that my regular readers will remember 'found my purse.' (Love you, Upstairs...always.) She and Soph were still in bed so I let myself in and got in bed with them. We played with Sophie for a while and then I asked her, in a way that isn't rude, even though it seems rude in type, why she was still there. She was supposed to be at work. She said that she just needed a little more time with her baby because of the shooting. And I had no idea what she was talking about. She said there had been a baby shot at a mall. And I said immediately that I didn't want to hear about it. No babies, no malls, nope. Sand, head, bury, please. Not forever...just not right before I was responsible for that sweet girl all day.
Around 10 am Sophie went down for a nap, so I lay on the couch and napped myself. Not long after I fell asleep my cell phone (unpublished number) rang. I picked it up and it was a reporter. Woke me out of a dead sleep. He asked me to "share my thoughts on this tragedy." It took me a few minutes to even figure out what he was talking about because I didn't really know anything about it. And it pissed me off. I hate "personal interest" reporters. )Sorry if you're that kind of reporter...I don't hate YOU, but I do hate your job.) I told him that my thoughts were that in was, in fact, a tragedy and I hung up on him. And then I sat and stared at nothing for about 45 minutes. What WERE my thoughts on this tragedy? Then the phone rang again. A different number this time but I let it go to voicemail. It was another reporter. Why? Why this shooting? Why didn't they call me any of the other times? I have no idea.
But I think, it was because he was caught. And he was alive. And we were all going to have to think about him. And think about him...and think about him... At least me, anyway.
People say you're not supposed to give the shooter a name because that's what he wants. I think that's sort of understandable, but kind of ridiculous. How do you know what mass killers want? Seriously, if anyone is capable of truly understanding what mass shooters want, then I don't want to know that person. You SHOULDN'T know what they want. You shouldn't be able to comprehend him in any way.
And not only that, they NEED a name. Hes the Batman shooter. He's the Dark Knight killer. He's James Holmes. He IS. "That shooter" doesn't work for me. Because I already have one of those. If he doesn't get a name, then I don't get to talk about him.
And I have to because he's all I think about. Pretty much all the time. Every time I say his name I cry out. Not tear up...cry out. I cried out loud when I typed it. I cry almost every time I see his orange headed face on tv, on facebook, on the internet. I'll be honest, it's taken me several hours to write the last two paragraphs because I cry so much.
But I don't want to stop. I have a compulsion to read and watch and know everything I can about him. I want to know what other people think about him. I am obsessed with James Holmes.
I want to know what he's thinking about right now. I want to know what he ate for breakfast. I want to know if his teeth are crooked or straight. I want to know what he has on his bedside table at home. I want to know how clean his bathroom is. I want to know what he smells like. I want to know what his voice sounds like. I want to know what games he played as a kid What kind of beer does he like? Does he have a grandmother?
I think about James Holmes when I am doing yoga, particularly child's pose because my face is to the mat and no one can see me cry. I press my nose into the mat and I wonder if he's laying in his bunk in jail on his stomach pressing his nose into his mat. Is he curled up like I am? Is it to relax his soul the way I get into child's pose or is it because he is afraid?
I think about James Holmes when I am eating. Does he eat when he needs comfort like I do? If he did, what would he eat? Or does he eat nothing when he's nervous. And then I think how I wish I was that kind of person. Because then I might still have an obsessive compulsive disorder, but at least I'd be thin. And then I hate myself for a few seconds because I wished I was like him.
I think about James Holmes when I am driving. Did he drive fast or was he really careful? Did he store that stuff in his car? Was he worried someone would see it or did he hide it really well?
I think about James Holmes when I look in the mirror and I wonder if he thought he was ugly. Because I think he's pretty cute in his university I.D. picture. I would have gone out with him. Did he like the orange hair? What part of this plan did the way he looked play because I know it had something to do with it.
I think about James Holmes when I am with my parents and my brother. What would he say to his parents? What did he say to his parents on a normal day before all of this happened? Did he hug and kiss them? Were they an affectionate family? Did he have inside jokes with his sister?
The worst part is that I think about James Holmes when I am going to sleep. I lay in my bed and I wonder how he sleeps. Not in the way that you might think, like...how can that monster sleep at night? But how does his body lay? Does he snore? Does he cry? Is he scared of prison? Does he miss his mom? Then I cry because I miss my mom but I don't know how to tell her any of this. And then I go to sleep and sometimes I dream that he kills Leslie but then he tells me that he's sorry.
Every day it gets a little worse. I cry most of the day unless i have something else to do. I don't stop thinking about him. I just stop crying about it because it's like he's just there, but not being James Holmes.
When I am not thinking about him, I am worrying about how messed up I must be because I think about him all the time. I think about how I am obsessed with him but not with the victims he killed. I think about how mad I would have been if ANYONE had thought that about Leslie's killer and not about her. I think about how maybe I am a bad person because I think about bad people.
I think about whether or not I want him to be dead most of all. It's part of everything I think about. I've always been against the death penalty. It just doesn't make sense to me. I thought I would die myself before I ever thought seriously that someone else should be dead...deserved to be dead.
Leslie's killer was shot by the police. He was still inside the mall, still shooting, and the police killed him. He died just three minutes or so after Leslie did. I know his name. His name was David Logsdon. But I rarely ever think about him. He is part of this story. But he is also part of the past. He was dead before I ever even knew that my friend was gone. There was no death penalty. There was life preservation and that doesn't bother me.
I remember the night my friend Brooke and I went to Leslie's apartment to get her burial clothes that I told Brooke that I needed to get in her bed. We did. I smelled her on her pillows. We cried some. I asked Brooke, an ordained minister, what she thinks happened to David Logsdon's soul. I asked if she thought that he and Leslie were both with God. And when I made peace with what I thought about that, he was gone for me. I chose to never have another feeling about him. I did not hate him. I did not feel sorry for him. I didn't wonder what he ate for breakfast, that's for damn sure.
And maybe that's what this is. Maybe James Holmes is getting everything I wanted to think about David Logsdon but wouldn't let myself.
Mostly I just want to know how. How does this happen? How? How does a person get born and have a mother and play games and eat sandwiches and then kill people? If he's dead, I may never get to know. But if he stays alive I may never ever stop thinking about him. This is probably the saddest week since Leslie died.
And I guess that's how I feel about this tragedy, Mr. Reporter.