Wednesday, October 26, 2005

1000 Paper Cranes

A group of people in Northampton are gathering together to make 1000 origami cranes for Rafael Sevilla, the 24 year-old armored truck driver who killed Meg on September 22. In Japan, it is believed that if you fold 1000 cranes for someone who is ill, they will get better. According to the police, Rafael was hospitalized for "some time," while other reports have said up to two weeks. It is the hope of these friends, the community there, that with the gift of these 1000 paper cranes, Rafael can come to some kind of peace with what happened.

I'm glad to see that someone is reaching out to him--I've had the impetus myself on occasion, though I doubt I would ever pursue it. I wonder what that might be like for him, to open a box full of intricatly folded paper, symbols of peace, wellness and hope. I wonder whether it will be a relief, or another burden.

At the other end of things are the ways in which strangers take up someone's death for their own purposes. I came across a blog the other day--a new habit of mine is Googling Meg, searching for mentions here and there--in which the particpants spoke of her as if she had simply been a casualty of the ways in which bike riders are maligned in our society. Perhaps they are--indeed the are--but the vitriol was unsettling. About Rafael, a person unknown to him, someone wrote: "needless to say, he ended up being late for his cash pickup anyway." Other people said: "Some of those truckers are so irresponsible, this one's been such an A-hole, murderer!!!" and "I hope the driver not only loses his job but gets thrown in jail for a long, long time as well," and: "money really IS the root of all evil..."

I have always said that I feel worse for Rafael than I ever will for me, or for any of us who were close to Meg. Because we got to have her. She loved us; we loved her. She was part of our lives rather than just a path that intersected it. So, needless to say I, for one, do not think he should be thrown in jail for a long, long time; I do not think he was particularly irresponsible. And I do not think he is an asshole murderer. The place where the accident happened is on a slope uphill. This means that after she was hit, Rafael had to sit inside the truck, holding his foot on the break so as to not let it roll back. The policemen said that when they arrived to place blocks behind the wheels Rafael was extremely distraught and had sweat completely through his clothes.

Those of us who occupied those inner electron shells around Meg's life have not exactly been avoiding each other, but we haven't spent a lot of time talking either. Some letters have been exchanged, a few phone calls here and there, but we are naturally existing mostly in our own circles once again. Instead, I send love and laughter in coded messages into the air, set aloft like falcons, in hopes that they return.

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