The Talking Day

by Michael Klein

Michael Klein

Some lunatic with a gun killed some people at an
immigration center in Binghamton, New York. Liz and her
family live up there and David, her husband, teaches in the
middle school which is close to all the action (the way, in any
smallish town, everything is close to all the action). I called
Liz to see if everyone was all right and she was in her car
driving to the elementary school to pick up Lily, her young
daughter she brought back from China a few years ago. Lily
was fine, but Liz wanted to move her outside the question of
how to make sense of the broken pieces of "someone" with a
gun walking into a public space and then firing. There's
something called (I learned from a news report the day of
the shootings at Virginia Tech) The Talking Day which
refers to the day immediately following the day when
something wildly violent happens. No one quite grasps the
reality of the situation and everyone spends that first day
talking about what happened and reliving it as language -
not so much to understand the violence but to make a kind
of recording of it: talking about it, letting go of it, putting it
down. And so I imagine it must be with Liz and Lily and
David in Binghamton, New York today: letting "something"
go. Liz is in her car after having just picked up Lily at school
and driving back home through a town that suddenly makes
no sense and she is telling the story about what happened
when a young man walked into a building with a gun. And
for Lily, who's had a pretty serene, un-violent United States
time so far and whose endless joy has made her an adorable
chatterbox, tomorrow could be her first talking day. Or if
not tomorrow, some other day. We live in a talking day

Last updated July 12, 2015