9/11 Through Time and Space

September 11, 2016

But it happens. Time flows and changes things and erases old memories before the new ones for God knows what reason. People remember and people forget but some things are too important to be forgotten. We have to remember them even when the others think they belong to the past, some other time and place less important and too distant.

 

I remember.

 

First it is a day and a night thousand and thousand miles up in the freezing air, a massive moving body of cold Atlantic deep down under me as hours are slowly passing by. First there are clouds and skyscrapers probing them while skyrocketing from the island surrounded by the East River and the Hudson River. The World Trade Center, the Chrysler Building the Empire State Building and many others. First there is a wild beating of the heart when the plane touches its wheels with a soft thud and a brief screeching sound against the Newark Airport runway. The first white limo and your new friend Lidija taking you to her cozy apartment in the Jersey City.

 

First there are lights of Manhattan across the Hudson River twinkling through the slowly setting young American night and the wind of approaching train in the subway. First there are the Twin Towers, majestic and high high high and big big big towering over you into the endless night and the colorful lights of the Times Square in a warm and pleasant September New York night.

 

My first time ever on the American soil. My first time ever in New York City. It is September 11, 2000.

 

I am there, I am dreaming. No! I am living my dream. I am remembering everything: every step on Lower-Midtown-Upper Manhattan tarmac, a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, jet lag, rollerblading the streets, avenues and Central Park, skateshops, squirrels, a candy for a dollar from a local teenage guy at the Washington Square Park raising funds for runaway kids, gay and straight couples, the hum of the waves at the Battery Park, tourists, smells of fast food, Italian food, Chinese food, French fries, pasta, any food, longboards, students, volunteering, gay parade, warm wind blowing around the corners of the streets and down the avenues bathed in sun, horns and traffic noise, ice water, museums museums museums, a roller coaster on the Coney Island, books, gifts, firefighters in action, skateboarders at the Union Square, street performers everywhere.

 

And I am in the midst of everything. I am there, the king of my dream, happy as can be when life throws into your lap everything. At least for a brief and short too short way too short twelve days.

 

And then there are tears. And screams. And people falling from the sky escaping fire smoke heat and falling debris.

 

And then there is a shock, disbelief, incomprehension, new explosions, new smoke, white dust, falling papers, death. More live news about the burning floors of the World Trade Center towers, about people being trapped about people being killed about death that cannot be avoided.

 

Then there is pain in your head and a hole in your heart and a big unanswered question in your eyes moist with tears – why? why? why?

 

I am far away from it, across the East River, across the Atlantic Ocean, on another continent. I am home from work, watching every news all the news everything, not missing anything and remembering that today is my anniversary of visiting New York. It is September 11, 2001.

 

I am piling up newspapers, magazines, pictures and articles so as to remember so as not to forget what is going on that day what was going on that day, the dead and the living, lost and found ones, tears, flowers, candles. Photographs and messages, lots of photographs and unanswered messages, thousands of them.

 

Remembering. It is important to remember. When life goes on and pushes death aside it is important to cherish the memory on the most nightmarish day in New York City. When the Twin Towers died.

 

When the Twin Towers were murdered.

 

I haven't returned to New York yet. I am trying to coexist in a parallel universe, sorrow in my head, fire, longing and desire in my heart for a distant city and a close memory I do not want to forget.

 

I remember everything.

 

Even the life I build here revolves around it, distractions help only temporarily. I whisper about it in my soul, I sing about it in my poems and in my books. And now in my blog posts on my web page, too.

 

Fifteen years after our encounter and fourteen years after the mortal wound to its soul I have launched my official web page www.bernardjan.com. It marks the beginning of a new life and a new adventure I am embracing and exploring every day.

 

Precisely one year later and fifteen years after the disappearance of the Twin Towers I am opening my Twitter account so I can better share what I love with you AND I'm writing this blog post because I want to remember and I do not want to forget anything. I want to remember my dream fulfilled, my love, my feelings, my story. I do not want to forget other people's tears, losses, pain, agony, ruined lives and stolen destinies.
 

But it happens. Time flows and changes things and erases old memories before the new ones for God knows what reason. People remember and people forget but some things are too important to be forgotten. We have to remember them even when the others think they belong to the past, some other time and place less important and too distant.

 

It is never too far and never unimportant to remember. With fire, longing and desire as a reminder, we may just realize that now we love New York more than ever.

 

We just have to – remember.

 

BJ

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      © 2015-2019 By Bernard Jan   |   Author, novelist and poet