Tuesday, September 11, 2007

september 11. . . .

No. No patriotic jump-cites. No rambling reminiscences. We all have them. The "where were you?'s" of our national psyche.

OK - I was next in line to board a plane at the Baltimore-Washington airport. I was going to a wedding. In Las Vegas. Awareness dawned slowly. There was no television at the gate. Gradually, we overheard phone conversations and finally we knew.

To "know". What a strange concept that is.

I have - since - seen the emptiness where the twin towers used to be. And yet I still inhabit them. I visit lawyer friends at their offices. I drop off documents. I attend cocktail parties at the very top, back in the day when the big law firms still wooed the best law students. Not so long ago, but longer and longer.

In a place that is no longer there.

I called my first boyfriend - long an ex, but still heavy on the 'friend' part - and actually got through. He gave me a running commentary as it unfolded. He walked home, over the Brooklyn Bridge, heavy, dirty and stinking after a long day helping people find themselves and each other. The strangest part was all the paper, he said. Scraps of paper, entire documents, just everywhere.

"Dear Mr. Mitchell, Enclosed you will find. . . ."

It made its way across the river to Brooklyn, where he lives. And where he watched the lower Manhattan skyline smolder under its disfigurement. A black stench of smoke and death. And missing towers.

Fast forward six years.

Right. Maybe not.

It's a heavy day today. And it's rained, for which I am grateful. The heat hasn't broken yet, though. I suspect a thunderstorm will have to do the trick. My mind is constrained, on purpose. I think of just the small things. The wonderful soup I made last night. The vegetables my father brought me from his garden that I will scrub up and prepare for tonight. My cat investigates the stack of papers accumulating on the trunk next to my 'desk'. What's for lunch? Shower, first.

But now there's the crack of a jet flying overhead and I recall the eerie silence back then - for days - and it feels like the roof is off again. Life is big and open and dangerous and there isn't a damn thing I can do about it.

I mean: what answer is there to people who plan to spend their life just like money in order to kill - well - in order to kill people just like me?

I didn't get an answer, either.

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