I have to say, it is hard to believe that it's been five years since I watched the twin towers fall down. The memory is astonishingly crisp. I was standing on a pier on the Hudson river, peering through binoculars, and talking, paradoxically, to my father. As we were lamenting the unfolding tragedy, I watched—both horrified and fascinated as each of the twin towers vanished.
I should have just gone home, but I didn’t. Instead unlike the stream of people filling the sidewalks heading north, I went south. I don’t know exactly what drew me downtown—perhaps I thought that feeling the soot in my lungs or feeling the debris underfoot would make me actually believe what I had just seen—help me understand that the buildings which filled me with awe were gone. That the plaza I used to lie in—staring up, the towers so tall they seemed to bend toward each other, was also gone, an entire ice age passing in a second, utterly changing the world it passed through.
But I went, downtown anyway past Times Square where hundreds of people spilled into the streets eyes on the NASDQ jumbotron, and past Penn Station where thousands of commuters milled around shaking their heads. 80 blocks down—south of canal street.
Down there, just beyond the police lines, the damage took on an earie cast. Planters were knocked over—small pine trees littered the ground. Several inches of soot covered everything and the dust in the air refracted the light making it seem hazy and yellow. There were charred papers everywhere—like a half incinerated tickertape parade had just passed me by. Other than police and firefighters, it was desolate.
An abandoned fruit cart stood alone at the corner of church and chambers. The block was empty, but the fruit still sat perfectly arranged. Plums and bananas peaches and grapes, all covered with a thin layer of soot—a dirty snowfall obscuring the dusty purple of the plums. A single small loafer lay not far away. I don’t know what it was about the fruit cart, but seeing it seemed to bring the enormity of the destruction into sharp focus. The foolishness of my long walk was suddenly very very evident. The dust swirled, a policeman shouted, and I turned to start the long walk home.
Posted by Indefensible at 12:54 AM