A Few


Missy, Alex, Jim were the friends I was closest to 12 years ago.  I wasn’t planning on going out, but we did the weekend before.  I was embarrassed because I was dressed sloppily; I was planning to spend the night in.  We raced bumper cars and went to a particular bar in Morristown that became my favorite for years.  I remember that Friday or Saturday night so clearly it could have been last weekend.  I completely lost touch with Alex and Jim many years ago.  Missy was with me the Tuesday after. 

 

My office was closed for a week or two afterwards.  I don’t remember what I did with all the time off except for four  things.  I called local employment agencies to try to keep busy and to make some money to donate. The "bubble had burst" just as I graduated college and there was no temp work to be had.  I saw “Glitter” in the movie theatre. I went to the local “smoke shop” with Missy to buy postcards of NY that had pictures of the skyline as it had been before.  I went to Hoboken and then Union Square with my mom and saw walls and bus shelters covered with pictures and fliers of missing people. 

 

I moved to Jersey City a month after.  If I left the windows open my sheets would smell like acrid smoke.  If I slept with them open, my hair would smell in the morning.  I remember the smell vividly, it was terribly specific.  At work, at home, it was everywhere I was for months.

 

I thought I had Anthrax that winter and went to my doctor.  A few weeks later the street I worked on was closed while men in hazmat suits taped up the subway grates and rinsed off in emergency portable showers on the streets below me.  We were evacuated again.  It wasn’t Anthrax in either case.

 

I saw a psychiatrist a few months after because I couldn’t sleep.  I woke up screaming every time I heard a plane.  I was declined a referral to see a therapist.

 

I started a fight with a perfume merchant on the train for mixing bottles of unlabeled liquids and refusing to tell me what he was doing.  

 

One day a few months after, as I was going down the stairs at the Christopher Street PATH station I was shoved around a corner and almost knocked down an Army or National Guardsman with a large gun in his hands.  I took the ferry most of the time to avoid subways.

 

I have worked once on that day and I prefer to take the day off each year.  I avoid tvs and computers and try to do something that makes me happy.  Today I will sit on the beach and swim in the ocean.

 

This past winter, months after Hurricane Sandy, Matt wondered if anyone would talk about anything else again.  I talked about how it was after 9/11, and told him I was pretty sure we would, eventually.