People ask me if I’m still upset about 9/11. I was there that day, dodging the debris of the South Tower when the plane hit. My first thought, as ridiculous as it was, was “how did they get a car bomb up that high?”
After that came the fear, and later the anger.
Am I still upset? Seven years later?
Upset? I’m still fucking pissed.
Sorry. I know this is a family blog.
And I’m ashamed of myself.
Because I ran away.
I know that a lot of people ran with me, but I ran. Away. I didn’t help anyone. Except myself.
I remember this woman. Brown hair. Medium height. Totally vacant look in her eyes. I’d never seen shock before that day. I didn’t help her either. She just walked along. And I think “walked” is charitable. Walked in the way that zombies walk. Thoughtless. Unseeing eyes. I used the word “vacant.” That’s just it. Staring into space.
In my experience, there’s no anger like the anger that follows fear. But even worse than that is an anger that follows shame. I think the anger toward the source of that shame is permanent.
So yes. The nightmares stopped five years ago. The sensitivity and hyper-alertness whenever I saw a low-flying plane stopped about three years ago. I’m still avoiding certain areas of the city, like the big board at Penn Station (where everyone waits to see what track their train is leaving from). I still worry about a nuclear detonation in the City.
And I’m still so very, very pissed.