Thursday, August 10, 2006

Our Collective Memory

The sky was blue like today's. If there were a few cottonball clouds, they were nothing that threatened to gum up the works in that well-designed machine of destruction. I saw metal and fasteners fall from the azure in an industrial rain that rendered temperate summer days forever tainted. The sky was like today's. It still is.

My life was different. I was a single woman working in the Connecticut suburbs of New York City as the coordinator of a now defunct catalog. I was unhappy because my boyfriend was far away. I was bored because that's how I am. I drove a black Cadillac Seville STS, a name that still rolls off my tongue with the smooth glide of luxury.

Now I am married with a baby. Instead of editing, I write. The Caddy and the boredom are gone. It was mostly a good transition, except that I took something with me from those days that I'm never going to shake. None of us came out empty-handed, of course; that's what binds us together. It's all a matter of what we could grasp, and how far we could carry it. Me, I took a fear of blue skies.

There is no complacency in fear, which is why I need it. I don't even care that I perceive everything now in shades of gray. There was a time for the vivid color of gentle breezes, but it's over. It ended that September and it will never come back.

I plan to tell this to my daughter, once she is old enough to understand me, and I her. Still, she will see colors brightly. Stories come down in plain sketches that we must fill in ourselves. Our parents heard of Pearl Harbor; we read textbooks about Vietnam. It was as if they never happened. We were spoiled by a quarter century of America.

Today the sky is blue. The threat level is red. The conditions are right for chaos. Please don't forget.


Michele said...

Well said, and in like mind today here.

I have tried to write about that day so many times and I can't. Anything I write is trivial and trite compared to what happened to my soul that day.

lynsalyns said...

Emmie has to fly in two weeks without me. Over a holiday. At the beginning of September.

My heart feels squeezed.

I remember turning to my dad and asking him who would do this? How could a human being do this!

For the first time in my life he didn't have an answer as we called and called and called my sister in the city and heard "wah-wah-wah." I was never so glad to hear her voice in all my life when we reached her cell phone.

Karen said...

I watch the skies, Binky. I always will.

toyfoto said...


Andrea said...

Industrial rain. What an apt description. And when I woke up to the news yesterday morning, I felt that same gripping fear I felt 5 years ago. What human being, indeed. Not human. Monsters.

J said...

That was pretty amazing. I live 3000 miles away, and yeah, still scarred by that day.

Have you heard about the 2996 blog project? If you're interested, check it out here.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. :)

the captain's wife said...

Wow. I felt the same way yesterday...and every beautiful blue sky day.

I worked in Manhattan on that day 5 years ago and witnessed my greatest fear come true. I still watch the airplanes in the sky as I look out my office window.