For those of you who haven’t heard, a small bomb went off last Friday (June 20, 2021) in Bogota. It only injured 3 people and broke a bunch of windows so the damage wasn’t awful. But a bomb is a bomb.
This isn’t the first bomb I have experienced. Even when you’re far away, a bomb in your city is something you experience with violence. First you feel the shock of the news, and once it settles in you have to make those awful, awful phone calls to everyone you love. The phone rings and rings as you’re praying to God that the person answers, and no matter how hard you try to ignore it in the back of your head you’re fearing the worse. Then you get an answer, and it’s as if the weight of the world has just fallen off your shoulders, and you realize you had had a giant lump in your throat that wasn’t letting you breathe the whole time. And still, the relief doesn’t last for long because you feel the anger and shock in your loved one’s voice. Because you learn that your uncle was on a bus a block away from the bomb, that your dad’s cousin had been to El Nogal that day but had decided to leave early, that you shouldn’t worry because your brother had gone away for the weekend and he wasn’t in the city when it happened.
I’ve been lucky enough to not know anyone who’s died because of a bomb, and I was lucky that the only bomb I have experienced first hand was nothing serious. Still, I was really shaken up. I got home feeling jittery and nervous. My hands were all shaky and I felt a strange hyperness. I kept thinking about Lourdes. I had passed by it minutes before the explotion and through the taxi window I remember thinking that I loved how there were always people hanging out there. I was in a supermarket really close by when the bomb went off and it stopped us all in our tracks. People went outside but we couldn’t see anything. A woman kept saying it was a bomb and I kept saying it wasn’t because there were no sirens. “That’s what a bomb sounds like,” she said, but I didn’t want to believe her. It makes me sad that people know what a bomb sounds like. We kept refusing to believe it until we got home and turned on the radio.
I feel stupid for having been so shaken up. It was a small bomb, and nothing big happened. But I keep thinking about the police and the 24 year-old civilian who got hurt. Just like that, in a second, everything changes. It’s terrifying.
I keep telling myself that I’m being silly and dramatic, that it wasn’t that big of a deal. I know, I know, it could’ve been much, much worse. I know, it was only three people…
But three people are three people too many.