Two makes language. Two communicates.
Sad, I thought, when my sister hollered up the stairs: An airplane just crashed right into a building!
I don’t watch news.
Oh, my god! Another airplane just crashed into another building. Just now! Just now!
My mind flips into mode. I don’t react. I ask. What is going on?
My newborn is laying next to me, where I’m reading. I look at my tiny baby asleep safe on our shared bed. I gently snatch my precious two-month-old into my arms head for the stairs and march down with her nestled to my chest. I’m fixen to set to translating this language of two.
What is being said here?
But I lost my brain and train of thought waiting for the firefighters to rescue trapped people form that crash, to evacuate the first building. Two buildings side by side airplane wounded, bleeding smoke.
Tell me people got rescued. Common firefighters get up there already! Get up get out.
It’s about time for an update. Suspense isn’t joking. Are the people out of danger? Like when baby Jessica was in the well. I’m not sure I can stand them in there any longer when my body feels a backbone crushing from the bottom up collapsing me one vertebrae at a time. It disintegrated and went up in a cloud of dust I can’t breathe.
They didn’t have time to get out! They didn’t have time to get out! All those people. All those firefighters. I just commanded them to get in there! They did. They didn’t get out!
They didn’t have time to get out looped my brain.
I rebooted it. It turned to rescue people charred by the other plane. No way such collapse would happen again. It was a fluke. It was only a fluke. People will get rescued this time. This building will hold as buildings do. So get em out.
My inner voice shouts. Hurry! It works as much as cheering a team playing a game on tv at making me feel better.
Nothing feels good enough and I can’t just sit here. Scouring the foot of the building hoping to see people come out is almost useless at so far off a screen view. Parched thirst for safety turns desperate like desert heat and blazing sun. The firefighters are in there. That’s no wet enough news. The spot on the ground I’m scrutinizing for exit movement liquefies. The tower squats down, shrinks, disintegrates, plunging my soul with it into a pile of rubble erupting ashes and dust of hope. Nothing makes sense now.
I look down at what I discover in my arms. Future in the baby face nuzzled at my breast vanishes. I can no longer imagine milk ever flowing out for her, again. There is no world now. No world for her to live in.
I ghosted back upstairs, put my sleeping child down in her un-safe spot on the bed, then went to find us some safety in a stillness, a quiet surrender to what is. Letting go of what I think and feel-a hopeless end. A world. Allowing something that just liquified and collapsed to begin to regenerate or reconnect in me, then to my world.
What desperate heart-piercing scream erupts in these two molten crushing voices?
I sit and search, finally melting into the stillness where life is.
Till I’m wretched out of a concentration maintained fragile focus by my sister. Another airplane hit the pentagon!
Goddam! War-cries explode into being inside me. Instead of lighting up with those, I flee to a quiet place to put out the fire and stitch the world back together.
Later the story of the plane down in a field jerks my mind the other way. That one did something to me.
I imagine my people taking out the pilot and going down with the plane. Finally, I don’t feel bound and helpless. My hero’s, my people, succeeded. They did stuff for me. I feel like my fellow citizens and some pretty sacred symbolic place got rescued.
The Brave. The cost! Imagining that person, those people, instantly facing death, trusting each-other, banding together, standing up, thrills me and cancels out the already-in-the-grave feeling of helplessness. At the last-minute choosing to go down with the airplane in a spot were no one else would be hurt, fired up hope again. These are my people! Fiction or not.
Then I thought of the hijacker.
The contrast for him. Alone. Thwarted. Failed. The creeps of failure along with death. The guy or gal who may have, according to the speculation, took that plane down dies a glorious death while even the children on that flight, doomed, where not enslaved and twisted into instruments of more destruction. This is a victory even in death-or something like that. Then I thought this is what really matters to me-to people.
One hijacker had the worst possible death. He died hopeless, a failure, crushed by letting down what he was willing to die to uphold. So, what was he upholding that mattered that much to him, then? What band of brothers did he feel like he betrayed? My emotions settled here, and everything started to make sense. This kid knew when he boarded the plane that he was going to die. He couldn’t chicken out. He couldn’t afford to really see one human being on that plane with him. No person could be more cornered or desperate, and sad. I wept for him. Then, I wept for his fellows.
When memorials were held, I scheduled my own. I’m already feeling like an American about my own American dead. So, I don’t focus there, were everyone else is already showing up. For each memorial, I brought a flower, to take time and felt the grief for each hero of a cause I don’t understand. And for his mother. For a kid compelled to shout-out that blood shrill for help. I don’t understand it. The kid, I figure, really didn’t understand it, either. We are equally lost in the world him and I. He stood for something just like my heroes. He was a person. He died failing, or triumphant. But that wasn’t what I wept for. I wept for the time he passed a beautiful American girl on a New York street and didn’t allow himself to see her beauty and love her, because he might have to kill her. She is them. This is not for me. Bitter tears dripped for the hours he spent at the airport, then on that plane looking at children, babies, couples in love, not seeing this was for him. Not seeing himself in them. I wept for his looking yet not seeing community, only death.
It took me a few years to tell another person after that first person I told. She looked at me like I’d swallowed the devil whole and alive. It doesn’t matter that I don’t agree with Osama Bin Ladin, even if he is not framed, but I let my heart try to hear the people he speaks for, is blasphemy. My position made me shake all over, but I can’t just pretend I feel different.
When Osama may (or may not) have been killed. I take it hard.
Every time the subject or name of Osama has come up for the last decade or so, I handle it by imagining Jesus getting accused. I don’t know anything, but he is my friend because I made a choice to listen to and honor him with my thoughts. I don’t know what he is saying, I’m just listening.
He just got crucified.
While my community celebrates, grief crushes me. I cry on my walk. Grief floods me making lunch, on my way to pick up my kid, while I play Runscape with my online friends, but I don’t talk about it to them. While walking off the feeling of indigence over my country taking-out my friend for me, my walking buddy Lois brings up the politics and his death. A lump grows and grows in my throat choking up tears I can’t hold back.
I lost my imaginary friend, today. Yet the grief is mostly over the idea of celebrating it.