The memorial of 9/11 sneaked up on me this year. Most things have. I read for hours last night, learned about some of the people whose lives were lost, who tried valiantly and unsuccessfully to save people under their care. There are always heroes among us, citizens, who try, sometimes fail but are remarkable for the mere fact that they tried. We were one people then.
As you may know if you’ve been following me for any time, that I haven’t been writing much fiction lately and for that reason it’s hard for me to know if something is working (some might call it lack of confidence, others would probably call it that too.). I’d appreciate it if you’d let me know. Many thanks.
Zealots flew planes into the building where your mother was working.
What was wrong with that sentence?
She was my everything and some men with minimal flight training but a whole lot of hate took her away. She had no enemies. She was adored by everyone who ever experienced her effervescent smile and contagious laugh. She had no enemies. She had no enemies. She had no enemies. She had no enemies.
But she did. Men who didn’t know her, who would never know her, never care about her, killed her.
How do you ever explain that?
She worked in a restaurant at the top of the world for just weeks. A country girl turned city girl who marveled at the view, at the clients, at her co-workers, joked, hugged, lived, called her mother everyday to tell her she was “at the top of the world.” Until she didn’t and wasn’t.
You never knew her. But you have her smile, her eyes, her laugh. How can you, who maybe heard her laugh twenty times in your life, have her laugh?
And now, 22 years later. You are her, and I tell you to work in Maine, the Yukon, Upper Alaska, as far from the malevolence of humankind as possible. My one, sole, link to her. Her inky blue eyes, her goodness. I’d secure you in bubble-wrap if it would make you safe, but then you would laugh and roll your eyes. You wouldn’t understand, you couldn’t understand. How could you? Every day she’d dance off to work, with regret, though, for you were just a bundle of kicking legs and pumping arms, her tiny baby in swaddling clothes.
And never will I ever tell you . . . of the last time I heard her voice.