Friday, September 09, 2011

Faded ...


I still can't look at the towers on fire.

Of course, there's no need. Those images are seared into my memory.

Our memory.

I was on the phone that morning. When I hung up, I checked for messages.

There were two.

One was my friend Dave, saying, "Oh my God, turn on your TV." The other was my mother, calling to ask where my cousins worked in relation to the World Trade Center.

I had a red, fine-point Sharpie in my hand. "8:16 Mom World Trade Center," I wrote on a yellow Post-It, and then dialed her home.

I turned on the TV while the phone rang.

I saw a tight shot of something burning.

I didn't know what it was.

I stayed very close to my television for hours and days. I had long loved Peter Jennings but he was heroic to me then. I cried endlessly. I marveled that he was able to keep it together. I wondered if he slept.

He's gone now. And I miss him.

Dave and I spent the morning and part of the afternoon on the phone, watching, trying to believe. My eyes and my heart and my head tried to fathom what had happened. It was too impossible to be real. We didn't talk, Dave and I. We just witnessed it together. And we cried.

He's gone now, too. And I miss him every day.

The world is 10 years older now but arguably isn't any wiser.

And the Post-It Note is on the wall where I put it that morning.

The ink has faded from the sun.

But if you look closely, you can see the traces of what I wrote that day.

Faded but fixed.

Indelible.

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