So, Lumpy and I went to New York recently. I had only been there once before for a too short weekend, and I was looking forward to seeing all the sights. I went before the towers were attacked, and it struck me that I hadn’t really thought about it in a long time, and that I had probably stuffed a lot of my feelings away, or drank the hell out of them, because I was slowly heading toward the oblivion of alcoholism at that point.
We took a walk around the area that was hit and saw the new construction, etc. We also saw people smiling and doing crazy, happy poses in front of Ground Zero. It felt really, really strange and wrong to me. It also kind of offended me, though I didn’t know anyone directly affected by the tragedy, or anyone who had perished that day. I felt kind of nauseous, actually. While other people were looking at this tourist area that has developed out of tragedy, I was picturing ash and body parts in the air, falling from the sky, looking like the most horrendous version of snow that I can imagine.
I don’t know why it bothered me so much about the photo-takers. That’s their choice, and it doesn’t affect me, right? I felt affected that day. I felt deeply, deeply shaken being in the area of the scariest thing that has happened in my lifetime, since the Cold War is supposedly over. I just couldn’t get the nausea and anxiety to go away. Walking there, knowing that all the survivors were probably walking around with ashes that contained their coworkers in their hair, on their skin, possibly in their mouths, was just awful.
I went back the next day because I wanted to see the historic graveyards at the churches there, and felt okay if I didn’t look up and see the new building going up at Ground Zero. Then I got to St. Paul’s chapel, and there was a photo montage of the whole thing and how St. Paul had been a place of refuge, assistance, and comfort from the first day on. I just lost it. I was sobbing, making an ass of myself, but I’m glad I did. It only took me 10+ years, but I feel like I have a little bit of closure. I allowed myself to obsess a little bit over the millions of t.v. shows dedicated to the tragedy, and watch and hear it all again, and I still feel a hollow in my chest if I think about it for a while.
Peace to you today.