Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years

Today, I fell in the shower.

Let me explain. I got a pedicure yesterday, and because they are now somewhat few and far between, I decided that I would work tirelessly to sustain soft, lady-like heels. I slathered on Bliss Tough Love callous remover before bed, and again this morning. Hours later, I walked into the shower.

I completely lost my footing. My soles were practically oiled, causing me to slip backwards on the cultured marble floor. I landed on my left shoulder, and my head then made contact with the edge of the shower door. My arm tingling, head ringing, I yelled for J.

As he came into the bathroom, I lay hunched over the door frame. "I fell," I explained. "My arm tingles."

"Are you okay?" He asked, and as he reached me he did a sharp intake of breath.

"What?" I yelped. "Am I bleeding?"

"No, you just have a huge bump," he explained, gingerly touching my left temple.

I began to panic as my hand flew to my head. The bump was large, had appeared instaneously. "Let's get you to lie down," J said, wrapping me in a towel and guiding me to the bedroom. He quickly fetched an ice pack and put it to my temple.

"I'm going to die," I say with absolute certainty. "The date, J! I am going to die on the tenth anniversary of September 11th. I was supposed to die then, but I'll die today; just like Natasha Richardson did. The IRONY!" (Proof that nothing good comes from watching Final Destination. And also? Post-traumatic stress victim, party of one?)

I believed it too. I assumed that it was my fate: to die from a desire for soft heels and callous-free toes.

Fuck, you know? Just when you thought you were healed? You ain't healed. The wound becomes less pronounced, it ebbs and dulls. It becomes a scar; it fades, but it reserves the right to be ripped open at a moment's notice.

It also takes many forms, an insidious foe that you often don't recognize initially. Lately? It is a visceral fear of leaving my son. Not getting to see him grow; missing it all. It is a nervous, gnawing, vague anxiety, until I slip and land on my skull and see my life flash before my eyes.

Can I confess something? I've let myself delve more into 9/11 nostalgia this year than ever before. I read Lisa Beamer's memoir; I watched TLC's Heroes of the 88th Floor. I even picked up United 93 at my local library. Before I did, I searched You Tube for clips from the film. I came across a 911 call made from the 105th floor of the North Tower.

I listened to it.

This man had no idea what had just happened. He couldn't see through the thick black smoke. He begged the 911 dispatcher to send help. He was there with another man. They couldn't see. It was becoming difficult to breathe. A fireman came on the line and tried to calm him. "We're working our way up," he assured him. The dispatcher came on the line again. "I'm going to stay with you," she assured him. He replied weakly, seemingly realizing his fate: "You can say that: you're in an air-conditioned building."

I think perhaps this is the most devastating thing I have ever heard.

I don't have any words of wisdom on the tenth anniversary of the "day the world changed forever", or whatever sweeping, heart-string-tugging platitude the news channels can deliver. (On our way home this evening, a local radion station played this spot: "Where were you on 9/11? The day the world changed! 9.33 FM!")

I just ache for those who lost their lives; who missed out. I mourn with those who lost the people dear to them. And I pray that the survivors - all of us, really - find a lasting peace.

Perhaps someday, a bump on the head can be just that - a blip, an accident - and not a fatality; an epic catastrophe waiting to unfold.

I hope.


Nicky P. said...

Thanks. Me too. Ten years? How'd that happen? I've listened to too many of the phone calls. Gotta stop with that.

I tried getting it down in words today, too. I think yours is better. So - thanks for getting the words down.

Ajlounyinjurylaw said...

It's amazing how time flew by since 9/11. I do have to admit that it's still hard to wrap my mind around all the tragic calls and events of that day.

KB said...

Sure, 9/11 and all, but I totally understand about the feet. Living in Dallas, mine are disgusting with callouses and other good stuff. I asked my dermatologist about it who said all the nice things like sleeping in socks and all won't help if I keep wearing flip flops which are required living in Texas in summer. Dangit.