Nine Eleven, Twelve (Years Ago)

It’s the same yellow blanket that’s on my bed now. I’m sitting on top of it, my little box tv/vcr is on, my phone is to my face, and besides the thought, where the heck are my parents?, the only thing on my mind is this:

Things will never be the same.

It was odd that I was in bed. Odder still that the tube was on. Strange circumstances and unusual urges had converged to allow me to have a memory of the second plane hitting tower number two, this memory always in tension with all the older ones where a child looked out  church windows in Long Island City at those massive, (what I thought would be) permanent, monuments.

I am not the same. I write this in a plane somewhere above Maryland or Pennsylvania, a small one, not like the jumbos that carried their passengers to a place never expected. In my mind, I already have a plan should this express jet encounter unusual circumstances. I played a script in my head. Who I’d call. What I might say. This is not unusual. I’ve always caught myself eying exits, devising exit strategies, planning contingencies for worst-cases, especially when I’m with students.

I just want you to know I’ll be ok. Be happy. I love you.

Things have changed. We’re all a little more worn. Like those flags everyone seemed to have on their cars in the City. They’re gone now. A new generation of high schoolers whose childhood memories rarely go so far back is here. Body scanners. People who want to touch my hair clip, the silver threads on my jeans pocket, my itinerary, my shoes, my idea of freedom. But I’m lucky. Lucky to have the luxury of wondering how much different my life would be had those towers never fallen. Some know how vast that difference might have been. I can call my parents knowing that they never made it to their destination to Tower One that day, and that that they’re alive to talk about it. I can remember the last decade and a half and it’s not filled with memories of a war zone, or losing sons, daughters, brothers, sisters to a faceless enemy. I’m lucky. I know it.

Looking down at the little dots of clouds I wonder how much could happen in this little marble of a planet, how in such a small place so much hate, violence, and hurt could exist. If it were possible that you could get high enough to a point where all that din would just be a muffled cloud. If there could be enough love, peace, and selflessness to even pierce that cloud. If, if I could try hard enough, I could change something. Something meant to be bad into a vehicle for good. And if I do it enough, if it’d make a difference, even for a few minutes, in this crazy blue green.

There’s only one way to find out.


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