Monday, September 11, 2006

A Different Sky, A Different View

The train wouldn't take me past Houston, but if I got out there, I could walk down to Canal. It was a week or so later, but if you want to talk about time meaning nothing, you should have been here for the week, the month or the year or so after September 11th.

The last phone call I answered at the Red Cross help line that Friday after is the one that stands out. The woman on the phone summoned the thing which chanelled her desperate fury and directed it at me, telling me that I was no help, that she had a child and an entire family staring at her, waiting to get the information about what had happened to her husband and that I was being an obstacle. My knees buckled and my heart broke but there was no information to give her; I was just a volunteer, taking information over the phone about missing people ("What were they wearing? Do they have any distinguishing features?"), there to deal with the first wave of grief. What could I tell her?

Anyway, I made my way down to Canal street, with the loose papers of the World Trade Center still blowing through the streets, as if the people inside had been transformed into scraps and confetti, and I leaned upon a mail box and looked South . . .


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