Sunday, September 10, 2006

September 11th. 2001

In the studio, over rabbit ears on a tiny black and white T.V. set, we watched the towers explode, burn and collapse; flickering images of an abstract, distant event. The whole production had a sort of Irwin Allen absurdity to it - scale-less rectangular monoliths dropping into the stage while dry ice smoke billowed up through the trap door openings - all replayed again and again on the fuzzy grey screen in front of the open window. It was like the Saturday morning Creature Feature ; invisible monsters ravaging the sets of Toho Studios. The television began to tell us that the word was fundamentally and irreversibly changed. Everything was different, now.

I recalled the aluminum between both palms, spread wide to span the flat of the canted corner where the building met the plaza, a Century 21 bag looped over my wrist. I felt myself pressing against the structure - was it metal or glass there? - hard and cool, and remembered looking up, my head craned back, peering over my sunglasses, mouth open, up up up to where the corner intersected the flat azure far above. The perspective was exhilarating and terrifying. For an irrational second I feared sliding along the corner and falling, helplessly spinning into the sky. I let go, released from the imaginary reverse gravity. "Ew... I'll take the crab juice," I declared to no one, clicked the nail of my index finger against the metal -click click- and turned away toward the subway.

We watched again as the buildings dissolved, like cigarettes sucked down at high speed, inhaled by the lungs of a giant in the lower concourse, the ashes swirling and billowing. Ashes to ashes. Behind the television set, beyond the open window, the luridly blue sky above the Ben Franklin Bridge was peculiarly clear of jets and their fluffy white trails. It was the only thing that seemed different at all.
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