Friday, September 08, 2006

memory, fear, and desire

lower manhattan

There has been a lot of talk recently about September 11, 2001, since the five-year anniversary approaches. I am unsettled. I witnessed the events of that day in a very immediate way; my apartment looks out at lower Manhattan; I could see the towers from my bedroom window, and I watched the second plane crash and then, later, the towers fall from my roof, where neighbors had gathered, watching in horror. I will never ever forget what I saw, and I feel a suffocating fear when I think back to that day. To this day, when I hear a plane fly overhead, I cringe. And the thrum of helicopters overhead, which happens much more frequently since that day, brings on panic. I think anyone who was here that day was changed by the experience. It was, and remains, terrifying. People who were not here will never understand. I cannot go to "Ground Zero." I have no desire to see the site. I don't even like to see pictures of the towers. I don't dwell on September 11. But I know that on Monday, if it is a clear day with a brilliant blue sky, I will feel an awful dread and a kind of panic. And it will pass. But I doubt it will ever go away, and I will never be able to stand the sound of helicopters or low-flying jets again.

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