“Seven children among 22 people killed.” These are the words that formed a hard lump in my throat as I read about the terrorist attack in Manchester last Monday night.
It’s awful how the words “terrorist” and “terrorism” have become commonplace upon the last few years. But to me, this time was different.
No child should ever experience what so many did at Ariana Grande’s concert last week.
I remember my first concert. Over the last few days, memories from that night that I did not even know I had, have surfaced in my mind.
I was 10 years old and could not contain my excitement to see the cast of my favorite Disney Channel movie, High School Musical, in concert. We booked the tickets months in advance. Our seats could not be higher up in the nosebleed section; we were practically three rows from the last row of seating in the venue. But I didn’t care.There was nothing in the world that could bring me down.
I still remember the energy of excitement lingering in the air, as the crowd found their seats before the show. I remember the smell of popcorn and pretzels circulating the stadium. I even remember the brown dress with pink polka dots I wore, and the high pony-tail I had worked so hard to perfect on my hair.
But there’s really no way to describe the feeling of watching your favorite artists perform onstage. It’s something special, magical even. I remember leaving the Staples Center that night, and feeling on top of the world. The first thing I did when I arrived home after the show, was put on my High School Musical t-shirt souvenir, right before I fell asleep peacefully in my bed.
Seven children who attended that concert in Manchester last week, never got the chance to go home that night. They never got the chance to go to school the next day and brag about the concert to their friends during recess. And for those who were lucky enough to escape, their experience will forever be shadowed by a dark, dark memory.
I wonder how many little girls in the crowd were also there to experience their first concert. I wonder how many of them felt that same spark of magic that I had felt nine years ago.
“One last time, I need to be the one who takes you home.”
These were the words of the last song Ariana sang, before 22 people were murdered at the hands of a terrorist.
It pains me to think about all the people singing along with their hands in the air, unaware that it would be their “one last time.” I cannot bear the thought of all the the proud moms who held their children tightly, seconds before that bomb detonated, “one last time.”
That song reminds me of my junior year in high school. Newly licensed, my friends and I would drive down Sunset Boulevard with the windows rolled down, that song blaring loudly from the stereo. For me, “One last time” will forever evoke happy memories of dancing, singing, and laughter.
It’s tragic that no one who walked out of that concert in Manchester, will ever be able to say the same.
I don’t have the power to fix the painful reality of this tragedy, and I can’t offer words that will make it all better.
All I can do is pray. I will pray for all the lives that were taken from this world that night, and I will pray that no one will ever have to experience such darkness and evil again.