I’m a tortured spirit desperately seeking resolution and withering away in my own shadow.
i met a woman who lost her daughter on 9/11 in the WTC attack. She told me and the rest of our class mates how much she hated having to relive this day over and over every year. She hated turning on the television and seeing movies about that day and specials about that day. It was like losing her daughter over and over again. I can never imagine that level of pain. and i, though not having lost anyone during the attack, could relate to not wanting to see or hear anymore about it. “never forget,” suggests that i could. i never will forget as long as i live. I still remember when my class was told of the incident. i remember where i was and what time our gym teacher told us. i remember that there was a foolish idea that the attack was an accident and we all casually were asking “is everyone ok?” and i will never forget his casual response “i don’t know. it just happened. we saw it in the teacher’s lounge.” i will never forget the sobs that filled the hallways as the day progressed or the deafening silence that made our ears boom whenever a student was taken from class. i’ll never forget the cloud of smoke that loomed over our town and watching people stand outside with candles and still not fully grasping the loss. i remember my mother walking around the house frantically cleaning, our phones wouldn’t work, the internet wouldn’t connect, and our television was out. i remember sitting in my room cowering in the corner every time it sounded like a plane was too low. i remember dreaming about the flight attendant and passengers aboard each airplane and before boarding a train, i thought about those passengers too. i remember being fear of ever middle eastern person, especially those carrying bags. i will never forget because what i remember most is losing my naivete in the “power” of being an american and what that meant. it felt as if our land was no longer sacred. again, being naive because it never truly was. of course, i do not expect people to not memorialize their loss because we all cope differently. i am not sure when i stopped staring into the sky, but i have. i don’t know when the silence that screams decided to whisper, but it has. and i have even stopped questioning the contents of boxes and bags on the subway. I imagine that discussing your lost loved one is emotionally exhausting and bless the hearts of the courageous survivors of the attack. and to be quite honest, aren’t we’re all survivors of the attack in our own way?
i take solace in the wind. at night she whispers secrets to the trees and some nights she comes to share them with me. “you know,” she said with sadness, “you are not as light as leaves.” and to that i laughed and then replied, “no, they aren’t as light as me.”