By Rachel, on September 11, 2010

NOLA


It was a picture perfect day. I heard that phrase so many times growing up – in books, in ads, in magazines, in speech – but it was a long, long time before I actually lived a picture perfect day in the flesh. That morning was not the first but it certainly was one that stood out in my memory. Not because of the events that unfolded. Those are compartmentalized – separate – boxed and filed and put away in the dark corners of my mind. It was just that that morning was truly awe-inspiring in its beauty.

I had to work – already a cause to put me in a stormy mood. And my shift began at 7: 30am. And I had had no coffee yet. And still, as I threw on some god-awful pants and a tank top all I could hear was an almost deafening chorus of birds singing outside my window. The air smelled good. It was one of those days that the air smelled fucking great. The trees were green and resplendent. The sun was coming up and tinting the sky all colors of gold. As I walked towards the river to catch the van that would haul me across the Hudson and into midtown I was overcome by such an overwhelming feeling of well being- of everything being right and good and beautiful with the world. I know that might sound like a bunch of bullshit that was thought up in retrospect but anyone that knows me knows my ‘sunny’ disposition and my generally jaded view of the globe and we who inhabit it. That morning, I was in a great fucking mood.

As I hopped on the van, I took my window seat, like I’ve always done, on the left hand side of the van. All so I could daydream as I watched the skyline move along past me. Twenty-six years, give or take one for travel, and I never tired of watching the same damn skyline unfold along the Hudson and I often said so to anyone who cared to listen.

I won’t bore you with a minute by minute account of what that morning was like but as I hopped off the van on 42nd & 9th Ave, the feeling of well being and harmony continued. Walking up 9th Avenue everything in sight was a thing of beauty: the trees, the shop owners, the garbage on the curb, the derelicts, the mothers, the children, the policemen, the buses, the cabs, the smell of rotting food and Pine-Sol and car exhaust – all these seemed to occupy its rightful place in the world.

At the coffee shop business was rolling along as usual. The music was playing, Dan Goldman was singing, the customers were shuffling and ordering and bantering and I slid right into my rightful slot. And so it went until the elderly lady with the bouffant complained about the milk in her cappuccino not being skim. I was about to open my mouth and say something smart when a customer came in said something had hit a tower.

Even then, my immediate reaction was dismissive – Oh that again? Didn’t they hit one of them last week?- It was idiotic of me. The bluster and bravado of stupidity and ignorance and youth. Invincibility. I thought they were untouchable.

It’s been 9 years. And for 9 years I’ve been pretending it was no big deal. That sounds crazy I know. Disrespectful. Irreverent. No one close to me died that day. I wasn’t hurt or scuffed or burned or crushed. At least not physically. My hardships were contained to being stuck on the island and then having to walk across the 59th Street bridge to Astoria. The blue September sky was still crystal clear. A soft wind blew across my face on that bridge. Not too cold. Not too hot. It was a painfully picture perfect day. Except for the quickly growing stain of black smoke that was rising to the right of us on the river. Except for the absolute quiet as hundreds, perhaps thousands of people crossed that bridge with me. Everyone quiet. Quiet cell phones in hand. I don’t remember a sound other than the scuffling of shoes and the barbaric comments of the guy I was dating at the time, who though being a skilled musician was nothing less than a crass buffoon in other departments.

I shut him off and twisted my head as far right as it could go the whole way across the bridge. I fared no better than Lot’s wife. The pillar of salt forming in me rather than around me.  I strained to see and then strained not to see the absence of the two forms that had greeted me every time I watched the skyline – my skyline. The forms that silently guided me on drunken nights spent cavorting through the West Village. Towers behind me – south – Empire in front of me – north. The forms I played at the base of when little – tilting my head back as far as it would go and not being able to see the top. Riding in the elevator and catching my breath as I felt the forms swing back and forth in the winds. Pressing my face up against the glass of the restaurant and watching small dots of cabs and buses and even smaller dots of people appear and disappear through the passing clouds below me.

I can’t really say what it was that I lost or what it was that changed in me. The days following the 11th seem a blur. Once again in the bravado of youth or perhaps swept up in the survival instinct of the city I chose to brush it off. Onwards and upwards. Stay strong. Nothing’s going to keep New York down. That day as we finished crossing the bridge there was a group of construction workers on the corner. “Fuhgeddaboutit – we’ll hav’em back up in no time” And that was the attitude they had, we had, I had forever it seems.

Until now, 9 years later,  when I have to confess that I fall apart at the most ridiculous moments. It’s embarrassing in a sense. I feel silly, weak, & stupid. Watching the opening of Julie & Julia, my stomach knots up.  The mention of WTC in passing on a news show and my hands grow cold. A snapshot of the city from before 01 and a lump of anxiety forms in my throat. Why now? It seems that a lifetime has passed since that day and yet…A birthday massage ends in some tears as the masseuse touches a certain part of my back. It seems lately that at any given moment something could snap and suddenly I’m back on that damn bridge, looking over to my right, the pillar of salt within me melting.

FIN



19 Comments to “2001 – 2010 9/11”

  1. Kelvin Chico says:

    fucking beautiful.

  2. Alexander says:

    buy@viagra.online” rel=”nofollow”>…

    Need cheap generic VIAGRA?…

  3. Alexander7 says:

    buy@generic.LEVITRA” rel=”nofollow”>…

    Need cheap generic LEVITRA?…

  4. FREDDIE says:

    Buy@Cheap.Coral.Calcium” rel=”nofollow”>…

    Buywithout prescription…

  5. PERRY says:

    Purchase@Coral.Calcium.Online” rel=”nofollow”>…

    Buywithout prescription…

  6. OTIS says:

    Purchase@Abana.Online” rel=”nofollow”>..

    Buydrugs without prescription…

  7. LEO says:

    Purchase@Cheap.Abana” rel=”nofollow”>…

    Buygeneric pills…

  8. ROY says:

    Buy@Discount.Abilify” rel=”nofollow”>…

    Buywithout prescription…

  9. EDUARDO says:

    Order@Abilify.Online” rel=”nofollow”>.

    Buynow it…

  10. TERRENCE says:

    Purchase@Discount.Abilify” rel=”nofollow”>..

    Buyit now…

  11. EDUARDO says:

    Cheap@Generic.Abilify.5mg.10mg.15mg.20mg.30mg” rel=”nofollow”>..

    Buygeneric pills…

  12. TRACY says:

    Order@Discount.Acai” rel=”nofollow”>…

    Buywithout prescription…

  13. WALLACE says:

    Get@Acai.Online” rel=”nofollow”>…

    Buygeneric drugs…

  14. SALVADOR says:

    Cheap@Acai.Without.Prescription” rel=”nofollow”>..

    Buygeneric meds…

  15. DUSTIN says:

    Cheap@Acai.500mg” rel=”nofollow”>..…

    Buygeneric drugs…

  16. BRANDON says:

    Cheap@Coral.Calcium.Online” rel=”nofollow”>..

    Buyno prescription…

  17. LEWIS says:

    Cheap@Abilify.5mg.10mg.15mg.20mg.30mg” rel=”nofollow”>..

    Buynow it…

  18. RICARDO says:

    Buy@Cheap.Acai” rel=”nofollow”>..

    Buydrugs without prescription…

  19. BRUCE says:

    Cheap@Generic.Aciphex.20mg” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    Buygeneric drugs…

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.