So here it is, 2009. It is not a Tuesday with the clearest warm and welcoming sky.
I woke up and listened to the AM radio. I heard there was a fire. I called my friend, tried to tell her to get out. I never reached her, but she got out. Most of the people I know did get out and a few did not. Of course, I honor those few as well as the many, silently and in private ways that have nothing to do with this page. I will tell you one of them his name was Tommy and by the time he died he had a beautiful woman not me who had become his wife.
So, here it was and is again, planes and buildings and things I could not grasp. There was a quiet moment where I put my hand over my mouth and fell to my knees. People were throwing themselves and falling harder than leaves onto the asphalt. I live in Brooklyn now but for those of you not from around here, Jersey on the Hudson is a triangle piece of New York. You see, this area, those buildings, this was and is my home. Funny how in 1992 I could never imagine a bomb landing in my front yard as it had in my aunt's across the ocean and yet here it was falling, falling and falling hard. Here it was, the world coming down. When the world of your ancestors erupts in civil war you say thank you to G-d for delivering you from the fire. When the fire comes to the promised land you sit back and after you cry, you sigh.
Every year I recall something new about this day. Sometimes I write about the loss or the shock. Other times I remember the faces of the survivors who came off the buses wet and wearing plastic bags or the early quiet in the baseball fields in Frank Sinatra Park as the sprinklers turned on by timer and the fires multiplied into a persistent backdrop.
I could recall for you the personal fear of trains and crowds that dogged me for weeks. There are so many ways to go. Some day I'm sure I'll be exhausted and the need will have fallen off. I guess I don't write this today for you. I write it for me, for the loss I felt as I waited for jet planes and last minute fixes to this which seemed so wrong. I write it for the relief I felt when no marauding ships or multitudes came over the horizon. I write it for every fear induced fantasy that didn't come true and for those that unfortunately did.
So, here it is 2009. A rainy Friday that makes you want to huddle with your laptop. I will recall that many people suffer daily under traumas big and small. I will remember that there are detention camps in countries where my clothes is made and still today we have slaves that dig ore from the hollowing earth. I will remember that refugees live in camps as did my mother once upon a time. I will remember there are tiny, human people who live through the largest history has to offer and every day they slowly move on. Battered or stronger the victims, the heroes and even the perpetrators once hot with passion they pass or move on.
I will tell you that fear does indeed induce fantasy and that reactions can be prolonged. I have no room for conspiracy theories or for blame. I have no use for police stops or endless urgings towards safety on the subways. I have little patience for extremists or the extremists who fight them on either the left or the right. I have little use for anything but love today and this too is private. On days like today I wish I were a much better writer.