the last

nobody is really sure why the school bus that crashed full of children resonated with the country the way it had. we've seen tragedies before, but for some reason this was was well timed, or maybe it was the photo, but the whole country couldn't get over it. there were pockets of people that would cry in small circles. there were women who patted other women in the grocery line and said, everything is going to be alright. even the animals seemed to nuzzle and follow closer. nobody really cared about why this was the case. they all just felt it deeply, felt like perhaps we should all pay a little more attention to what is and less attention to what isn't. we thought that the death of these children was the death of the nation, like the nation was no longer a child, like we had all collectively realized that it's time to grow up. that it's time to put childish things behind us, like maybe we can't save this planet after all, that our death is inevitable and sad and what will we do with our time left, and should we leave a note to the universe. we seemed to be talking less about the first man, and more about the last one. the poets and writers and singers and artists and composers and musicians and wizards and speakers and prayers were elaborating the last man or woman or child. we were sad and there wasn't much we could do about it but cry.