Remembering 9.11

Monday, June 10, 2002

You know what I anguish over most these days? A beautiful work-week morning.


9.11 was on a brilliant day, with skies of blue—the kind you get all year long in California, the kind most residents of the Golden State don't appreciate, or at least the climate one takes for granted until you have experienced differently. I can't help but think that the next catastrophic strike will take place on such a day again. One in which all the prospects of fulfillment, all the potential of good fortune seems to glimmer off the pavement and the surrounding skyscrapers and the brighter-than-usual dispositions of strangers I'll pass.

Alas, this paradox of foreboding thought almost always comes immediately before we enter the Lincoln Tunnel during my daily morning commute. And when we're stuck in there in the middle of this prime target, knowing I am helpless, I still wish that somehow my last words survive. For I want everyone to know I was alive until then, and that my life was worth living.

The ten-minute traversal in the subterranean passage can be quite eerie if you are awake enough to notice at 7 AM. For everyone is absolutely silent. Even though it is stop and go the entire way there are no horns from other cars, no signs of noise from other vehicles at all other than the quiet hums of their engines. I can't help but think that all the passengers in all the other buses, SUVs, and cars are equally passive and pensive. Surely, half of my fellow commuters are engulfed in apocalyptic thoughts themselves, along with praying, or hoping, or reminiscing, or reminding themselves if they make it out to call and say "I love you" or at least make sure all the necessary policies and payments are paid and prepared. Some may even be scared, but I presume that most are merely resigned to the design of their destiny, just like me, if it is to be.

When we reach daylight again everyone suddenly gets a spur of energy. Suppressed coughs commence, bags get ruffled, eyes open, heads lift, hearts fill more fluidly, and bodies begin to shift. When the bus stops at the station, most quickly rise, and the exhaling sighs cumulatively become one palpable cry of relief.

On to the next skip of heartbeat: the subway.

Friday, June 14:
I took my three-year old, Enzo, into the City today to leave him at the Children's Center at my office.

Uncannily enough, as we were entering the Lincoln Tunnel Enzo asked, completely unprompted, "Papa, what are 'bomber shoes'?" I had an inkling to what he was referring to, but asked him to explain nonetheless He told me, "Bomber shoes are mean men. They wear shoes that explode. People jump on them and say 'no, you can't do that!' And they say 'Yes, I can.' And then the policeman takes them away."

It was wholly coincidental that he brought the subject up at the same point when I might think likewise of such terrorism. Up to that point he was chatting about "choo-choo trains," "loco-motors," and the amusement he found in spotting rivers we rode over.

I asked him what prompted the thought and he answered, "I don't know."

hinc illae lacrimae.
hence these tears.

~ terence, andria


All rights reserved, Lorenzo D. Dominguez, 2002-205