Sunday, September 10, 2006

Five Years On, Part X

On Wednesday the 12th, Sam and I woke up totally bleary-eyed from a largely sleepless night and honestly didn't know what to do. We knew there was a danger that whatever this was was not a one act play but we didn't know what to do. We didn't want to sit in front of the tv anymore for sure.

So we both went to work at like 10 or so. I think more than anything it was to regain some semblance of normalcy but I suppose it was a lot of confusion as to "well, what exactly is the protocol for the city when 3,000 people were killed down the street the day before." We rode the subway in that day and it was empty. The city was empty. We walked together down the street alone. I held her hand. After everything we had been through the day before with unconnected and disconnected calls I'm surprised we separated at all. But we did.

I mean, my three friends who used to work down there in the financial district all had made the move to midtown in the past year. I knew they were safe. I had talked to all of them the night before. Nothing expressly bad had even happened to us.

My office was empty. There was no work to be done. No one was anywhere in midtown. Besides, who would ever want to buy anything after what had happened? I figured the industry was dead.

So I sat down at my computer and for lack of a better idea of something to do, I just typed. This is what came out. No plan, no editing, no nothing. Now as a writer I look back at it and scrutinize it but it was written under such duress. I just typed. There was nothing else to do that day. I knew I had to do it. I don't even know why.

But as much as I want to re-type it now, here (photographed, even) are the exact two pages I printed out that day before cutting and pasting it into an email to send around to the country to everyone I knew in the hopes it would help them make sense of it. And help me. So much has changed since then but 24 hours on, this is where I was. You probably have to click on the images to be able to read them.

Just note that I make no mention of how Pat Kiernan on NY1 had given no indication of the severity of the crash and so that's why we even left home. Sam and I talked as we waited for the elevator and since she had lived in Jakarta and lots of other more dangerous places she speculated that it was a terrorist attack but we both never expexcted it to be what it was to become.

Nor do I mention my sobbing phone calls to my mom which I was certain were our last. Or the frantic calls to Sam telling her to get out immediately and where I would meet her and what to do if one of us didn't make it. Nor do I talk about the relief it was when she finally walked in her place that afternoon. Somehow the next day it was too soon to write about.

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It's sad what this administration has done with that love of my country. That's all that I'll say about that. If all of America had been there those days following (including our president who didn't show up until Friday), they'd understand what we could have been. And how sad it is to see what we've become.

1 Comments:

Blogger jeff said...

Thanks for sharing all ten parts of this Howard.

And, not that you'll need it, but good luck with the Super Bowl ad.

11:02 PM  

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