Let me briefly preface this blog post by saying that while it is not about writing, or “Incandescence”, or related topics… it is about something important and even though this is primarily a writing blog, sometimes, the things I think just have to come out.
Before 2001, September 11th had no more significance to me than any other day. It was the birthday of a guy I had crushed on for years in Middle & High School, but that’s all. Just another day of work and school and life.
Then 9/11 happened.
I was up really early that morning. Something like, 5 a.m. on the West Coast, and I had been writing (okay, and possibly playing a web-based roleplaying game) instead of studying or preparing for classes to start. I was living with my mother at the time, and she was up at that ungodly hour as well, watching the stock market tumble on the CNN ticker obsessively. The effect it was having on her investments was awful and she was not sleeping well at the time (being a widow with a full-time job, a mortgage and a daughter working full-time and going to school full-time takes its stressful toll).
I heard her gasp from my bedroom and then she called out for me to get in there, quick. I remember stubbing my toe on the leg of my half-moon Ikea desk as I ran out to the living room. It was happening in real time. The planes, the people leaping from windows to escape the fires & explosions, the towers coming down. I couldn’t breathe for a minute, an hour. We were transfixed, teary-eyed, unable to look away. It didn’t seem real — it had to be impossible, an attack like that. Who? What? How? Why?
In the days that followed, I was truly proud to be an American. Proud of how we rallied around each other as a nation. Over the years, that solidarity has dimished again. We are once again divided. Its an election year and one of the most heated I have ever experienced. I won’t spout the cliché about standing together or falling divided (except, I sort of just did, huh?) but I think its true.
I wish we could find a way to return to the sentiments of that day, without enduring further tragedy. I wish we could learn to live and let live, to not separate ourselves from each other based on superficial things like race or even deeper issues like religon, to exist peacefully and supportively with our fellow man. I think that we forget so easily, especially in this ADHD age where everything moves at a rapid pace, that at our cores, at the most basic level, are are all the same.
We share the same atoms, the same origins, the same blood.
Maybe we don’t all believe the same things, but that’s okay. Diversity is good. Acceptance is better still. And while I cannot say that I am proud of all the events that occurred in the wake of 9/11, of knee-jerk reactions, I can state emphatically, that I remain proud to be an American.
Before 2001, September 11th was just another day. Now, it makes me stop and reflect, remember and honor those who have fallen, write rambly blogs about it, and despite the fact that its been almost 15 years since I saw him, wonder whatever happened to that curly-haired boy I adored.
Love & Rainbows,
To my darling H.P. …
Once upon a time, a quartet of children, bundled up in varying degrees of poofy winter gear, went out to play in the snow. They numbered four and were of mixed sexes; three little girls and one little boy. The rural countryside was still and white and crisp; their breath was wispy, dancing smoke in the air. Arms laden with toys, the children marched across the yard, the gravel road (which was grey and sludgey and not at all beautiful like the rest of the virgin winter wonderland), and up a short incline. There, they sat beside the railroad tracks and began to play.
If I recall, Cynthia and Whitney had a fight with Ken and Cliff and Alyssa, but they all made up and danced in the snow together.
The storyline wasn’t exactly memorable, but the experience was.
Playing Barbies in the snow with my kid sister and two of our cousins is one of my most cherished memories of childhood. We played Barbies in the snow, in the sun, in the rain. They had carnivals in the attic and went on a roadtrip across the back porch in the big pink off-brand doll-sized van my sister got for her birthday one year. Telling stories, no matter how silly or inconsequential, was important to my cousin and I, even then.
Yes, we played Barbies together, you and I. And that turned into inventing whole casts of characters to tell stories about as we grew. BHG forever. Pen pals through-out the tumultuous teenage years; your letters the bright spots in mostly mundane life. I still dream of that time you and I sat discussing your novel to the exquisite, tinkling Thousand Golden Bells. How excited I was to receive an extra-fat envelope with your loopy handwriting on it because that meant there was either a really long letter or printed-out pages of your story.
A dark period came when we did not write or talk very much. You had graduated and were busy living life and discovering yourself; I was still in school and wrapped up in the characters that lived in my head. Getting them out and on paper was more pressing than writing letters, I suppose. I missed you then.
Graduation came and through circumstances that at the time seemed like my world crumbling around me but which, in retrospect, were certainly Fate shining her lovely influence upon my path, I came to live with you. How did I phrase it? I have come to roost in this farmhouse; it is a shrine to my gay cousin’s bachelorhood. Something like that. All I recall is that at the time I thought was terribly poetic.
I was afraid I could never fit in to your new, cosmopolitan (yes, even in [redacted] you seemed so sophisticated and worldly) life with your wild and exotic new friends.
Maybe I never did fit in, exactly, but I treasure that time as some of the best in my life.
We were roommates for awhile and we shared more stories in those months than I can count; Posie, Leah, Edea. And afterward, no matter where our paths lead us, we still had the interwebs to communicate and so we always had each other. I could not even begin to recount the memories we share, the collaborations we wrote, the laughs we laughed, the sugarlard we consumed.
You are my bestie and my sistie. We’re connected despite the distance.
More than roommates. More than cousins. More than friends.
Platonic (mostly) soulmates.
I know you don’t believe, but there’s Heaven in your eyes.
And when you think you’re not enough, just know that I do.
Even though its inconceivable to you.
Love & Rainbows,
P.S. Happy Birthday H.P. ~ I love you.
P.P.S. Lyrics by Leah Andreone. If you don’t know her – go out and listen to the two albums we loved and listened to: “Veiled” and “Alchemy”.