The Dark Towers
I didn't lose anyone I loved in it, or anyone I even knew. And though I am the last person on earth to deny anyone their grief for as long and as deeply as they want to grieve it, I had only the grief of the average New Yorker, the grief of someone who watched it all from a rooftop a mile and a half away, holding on to a neighbor as she held on to me, the grief of someone who for months thereafter breathed in not only the dust of the fallen towers but the dust of her fellow New Yorkers.
So I didn't watch this morning, except for the moments of silence, in which I too bowed my head, but I kept the TV on, mute, and went about my morning routine. It seemed disrespectful to turn it off. And then at the end I turned the sound on again to hear perhaps the most beautiful "Taps" I have heard, three buglers in counterpoint, and that made me cry.
Then I started reading the NYTimes online. They have first-person reports of the day from their writers and photographers (you should absolutely check these out yourself), and I started to cry some more.
Then there came a thunderstorm, and I thought that that felt right. Tears and fury together.
I don't need to be reminded. I am reminded every time I'm outside and I happen to glance downtown. There is not one single time that I look and don't think of them, my own personal Stonehenge, that I don't wonder to myself Was that where they stood, behind that building, or did they rise up from behind the next one, how high up the sky did they come, do I remember correctly, could they possibly have been that high?
The towers have entered legend, and the people who died in them are at peace. But the hurt hasn't gone. And I don't think it ever should.