I’ve been known as a fruit from time to time. I’ll wonder about and toy with and tickle all the oddities life casually sneaks to us, those weird circumstantial roads one ends up going down where everything (once you’re there) seems almost too planned, as if it was or is meant to be. I can play with this idea. I do it every day. It keeps a bit of hope inside me. The me who, as of late, has been somewhat troubled. I’ll suspend all my cynicism just to take a gleeful glimpse into something that might appear horrific and confusing. I’ll do it just to avoid how ugly life is at times. And perhaps it’s all just a way to make nothing seem more attractive, to give nothing some meaning. And perhaps we make it up to make this life a little more enjoyable and “necessary”.
I can buy all of these little things, these indefinable things that just are, and I play with them like intriguing, new toys.
There’s this concept of the unconscious, and up until I met Toby, I did not pay it much mind. I just filed it under the “something I studied in college and can forget about it” folder in my head. (Ironic, isn’t it?)
Friday, I left work early. I left at 4. I did not have approval to do so, but sitting behind my computer much longer would have surely brought me to tears. So I left. I gathered my bags and my headphones and a CD and wandered out onto the sidewalk. I thought about grabbing my metro card and hopping on a subway, uptown, to sit in the park. But instead, I began walking. There was no thought, I just walked. I headed downtown. I headed south. I headed towards the water.
I watched the streets move by me. It was sort of sad. I watched the people on Broadway head north, I was undertow, fight flow towards the not known (in my head). It was too late to hop on a subway. I was headed south. There were less and less shoppers. There were less and less storefront displays. There were less deli places and food stands and men selling weenies and pretzels and 3-dollar bottles of water.
I was headed towards the WTC. (Again).
I hadn’t thought about doing this. And I’m not saying I needed it. I’m not saying that I sought out to understand and grasp that day or any day or anything within me while I was at work. None of this crossed my mind.
(Could I have sought this trip out, even before I left my office? Could I have unconsciously wanted [needed] to see the site of my most unsettled memory before I left New York City? Before outsiders show up and trample on it on the anniversary of its destruction? Maybe this was planned. Maybe I planned this.)
I don’t know why I was there. To be honest, I feel rude being there. I have felt this way since it happened. I stood aside and watched people wander around the gates and watch the workers file from behind the green screen. I just sat back and watched, emotions, jerking my head around. Unsettled fears about that day and leaving New York sat next to me. Loneliness.
The area down there is sad. It’s in need of a home. It’s like a battered animal at a shelter. It needs a hug and a snug and a person to take it home and pay them some mind and mind it some pets and just let it sit on a pillow to get older and wiser. It needs to regain its strength. It needs to sleep.
I kept walking until I hit water. I sat on the edge of the river and watched the water bubble and kiss the tongue-like tip of lower Manhattan. And it spit its ferry boats to and from New Jersey and Staten Island letting everyone know every minute that it was still there, troubled, but still there. I watched the blimp pass overhead, I watched the men try and sell ugly, gold chains, watches and cheap sunglasses. I listened. I listened to the helicopter, the guy on the phone, to toot of the boat’s horn and the water lap up against the city’s lower lip. I do love this city. I really do. I always have. I always will.
Friday turned out to be an entire day of therapy. I can’t say that I feel better about everything, but I can say I understand that I don’t understand and I may not for a long while. I may never. I do know that I love the people I love and that I can’t always plan for things to make sense or walk towards them and know what they will look like once I get there. And I’m not sure what the future holds for me or it or here or there. And I’m not sure I won’t be back.
Sometimes I personify this city. And lately, part of my turmoil is thinking that I may actually be turning my back on it, leaving it in a shelter for someone else to try and love. I don’t know. But for now, I have to figure out that I’m not as angry as I have been and that I can relax again.
Images taken while I walked.
I liked this piece of writing. Make sure you save it and not delete it during some fit.
aye. ofcourse all our channels are filled with documentaries on the subject too. I still can’t sit through an entire one with dry eyes. i hope i never will.
Just so you know- I made the decision to blog about my recollections from that day. In doing so, I realized the first bright moment of that day came when I finally heard my phone ringing (the phones being dead for hours prior) and it was you calling from New York. I’ll never forget that phone call.
P.S. You wrote a post on your old blog shortly thereafter and then I think you took it down. Do you still have it? It was incredibly well-written.
I do still have that. I reread it the other day and it made me feel gross. I am not sure why. Isn’t that odd?
Anyhow… I feel gross a lot when I think of that day and the weeks that followed. All around. I am still upset with some of my thoughts, my original thoughts. I am still mad at some of the reactions I witnessed and I’m still not sure what I as thinking that day and the days that followed, if anything at all.
That’s okay. I don’t think you’re supposed to feel anything better than, at best, unease & sorrow about anything you witnessed or felt. Maybe one day-
perhaps far in the future-it may make some sense. And you may make peace with it. If there’s one thing I’ve been able to grab onto: it’s that we all ran the gambit of reactions, and I can find some catharsis in writing & talking about it.