I was working on some database dumps I made on March 16th. The first one was made at 11:37 local time, when everything was normal. The second was made at 15:37 when everything had changed, but I didn't know it yet. I remembered walking by the water that afternoon. We got off the bus a few stops early because it was a sunny day. I was thinking of calling Sarah and then the phone rang. I saw the number on the phone and thought (or maybe I said it out loud?) “It's Sarah.” But, it wasn't Sarah. It was my dad. I knew right then that something terrible had happened. I sat down on the grass. He was crying. I shut down my brain so that all I could think about was that moment. When he finally got the words out about the “terrible accident,” I thought about plane tickets and hospital beds. But, no hospital for my Sarah. “There were three Sarah's in the car. They were all killed, all three Sarahs.” I shouted, “DEAD?” As if you could be killed but not be dead. But, his response left no questions. They were certainly dead. But, I didn't believe it. How could I believe something like that? I still have moments when I don't believe it. It's all like a bad dream.
So, looking at files in a directory and noticing their timestamps brought all that up. Everything was normal and then it wasn't. And I didn't even know that my baby was gone. I always used to imagine that if something like that happened I would just know. Some kind of psychic communication would pass through the ether to warn me that something awful had happened. But, I got no communication. I didn't have a psychic flash. I was thinking about Sarah when the phone rang, but that wasn't anything unusual. I hadn't talked to her since Tuesday and it was time to call, that's all.
I guess it's a bit conceited to think that the universe owes me some kind of warning before taking my loved ones away from me, but it still feels so strange that something of that magnitude could happen without ripping the very fabric of space and time. But then, on a universal scale I guess the loss of three young women and a little girl isn't all that huge, compared to bombings, genocide, war and whatever else is going on in the world at any given time. It was huge to me. It was huge to the people in Shelbyville, Hemphill, and San Augustine.