It was 6:30 a.m. on Sunday in San Antonio. Our team was loading the bus, on the way to the airport to return home after an eight-day road trip. I was sitting in the lobby of our hotel when the TV screen caught my eye.
I saw the words mass, shooting and Orlando.
I looked closer.
Maybe I wasn’t reading it right. It was early and I was tired. I focused my eyes and pulled up Twitter.
I couldn’t believe the reports, and I couldn’t look away.
Orlando is where I was born and raised. Pulse, the gay nightclub, is just ten minutes from my mom’s house. Five minutes from where I graduated high school.
When we landed in New York, my mom called.
“Everything is on lockdown, Z,” she said. “Police are everywhere. All the streets around here are crime scenes.”
And then she asked, “Have you heard from your sister?”
I hadn’t. No one had.
My younger sister is gay. She’d been at Pulse the weekend before.
I called her immediately.
One ring. Two. Three.
There’s a lifetime that passes between rings when you’re terrified of what might be coming on the other end of the line.
“I am Orlando”
June 14, 2016 by Helen