At ten-years-old, I often watched the evening news with my grandparents--Gram in the brown vinyl recliner, Gramp in the high, brown crushed velvet self-upholstered chair that my aunts made for him, me sitting at the other end of the room where I was sheltered by the lamp adorned with gold leaves and pull chains. There was some type of crisis going on in the Middle East and terrorists had killed a resident of a building and were dangling the body out a second-story window, part of the lifeless body still inside the building.
This may have been the first time I witnessed pure hatred and indignation to a formerly living human being. The way the body dangled from the window as the armed, kerchiefed gunman waved his gun over the body, as though in victory immediately, reminded me of my mother but I'm not sure why. It could have been that I was identifying with the loved ones of the victim; it could have been that I was immediately protective of the person I loved most in the world; but what I believe it was was the beginning of the loss of childhood innocence, a look into what I never knew existed on such a devastating level: that humans were capable of immense cruelty and could even gloat over it.
My grandparents stared dully at the scene, Gramp just shaking his head as if he were seeing more of what he too didn't understand. From the looks on their faces, Gram and Gramp's innocence had left them long ago.