12 September, 2010

Fellow New Yorkers . . .

Did you see the blue lights yesterday?
 Image from here

This is what I saw coming over the Tappan Zee Bridge last night.  This is my skyline.  I fell in love with its splendor and majesty when I looked at it from across the river visiting my future college home, St. John's University.  I watched it change from across that river from the roof of my dorm room.  I didn't watch it on television.  I watched it live and in person.  I cried and I dialed the cell phone numbers of friends who lived a block away at NYU and Pace University.  One week into my freshman year of college and my world was shattering around me.

I don't watch the memorial on television.  I avoid it on purpose.  It's not that I don't want to remember.  It's not that I want to forget either.  The problem is I do remember and the images wake me in the night sometimes.  I didn't watch it from the streets like my friend's did but I watched helplessly in the borough next door.  I couldn't help them.  My campus shut down and wouldn't allow anyone to leave.  I couldn't run to help them.

Two months later, while coming home from visiting my friend at Pace, I walked down the streets to the nearest ACE subway.  Maybe it's because it was 4AM.  Maybe it's because I wanted to believe it was a dream.  Maybe I had become numb to the smell of death and burnt out steel.  I came to a barricade.  At that moment, I didn't understand why it was there.  I looked beyond it and saw the rubble.  Another image I cannot erase.

I will not forget.  I will remember.  I will always be haunted.  I hope you feel the same.

Post-Script: I know that non-New Yorkers feel the void, too.  I just live in the shadow of that great big city and those lights carried me home last night.  They haunt me and I need to vent.

3 comments:

Avie said...

I cannot imagine how hard it must have been for you and everyone else there in New York. It was painful enough to watch from across an ocean. Blessings to you and your New York 'family'.

Willow said...

Thank you Avie. It's a day that I know, along with millions of others, will always strike a chord within me. I hate the images that are infused in my head and I long to be rid of them. I always find myself wrapped in the past at this time of year.

The Blue Faerie said...

Here in the Midwest, it can be a bit distant for us. I lived in Minnesota in 2001, and I remember them shutting down the Mall of America for safety reasons. There were a lot of people that sympathized for NYers but it was hard to understand the gravity of it right away when you're so far inland.

Saturday in Madison there was an orchestra-choir-dance flash mob that did a September 11th tribute on the Capitol steps. All the musicians and choir members were dressed in black with three dancers dressed in white. They did a very sad and slow classical piece and ended with a moment of silence. Just as they went silent (completely by chance) a plane flew overhead. I think that was the first time I actually cried and understood even a portion of the feelings going through people that day.

Those lights are beautiful. Thank you for sharing your memories. I think that's what makes it real for a lot of people.

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