18 years later.

i. sitting in the top observation deck in one of the seats that was in the windows and looking straight down between my new boots feeling suspended in light and sky and seeing all the way to pennsylvania, hundreds of feet above the ground, sitting on a few strips of metal and a masterwork of engineering

ii. passing through one day and stopping, briefly, to watch tibetan monks create a sand mandala — the image of which i meditated on for months after

iii. going to see radiohead at liberty state park across the river, concert tickets bestowed as a wedding present by our awesome friend michael because we’d never seen them. i danced the whole time, watching them framed by the lady and the towers, and that night my brand new husband expressed surprise and admiration that anyone could dance to 2+2=5 as we changed trains on the ground floor of marble and tall ceilings high on the music and the night and the stars and the 3rd encore oblivious, utterly, joyously oblivious of the scenes that would unfold in that same space not too much later

iv. the word welcome in hundreds of languages on the tourist elevators, very 70s design, different fonts for different languages, a comforting barrage of welcome wilkommen bienvenido bienvenu welcome. now step to the back to let another 400 people on.

v. i was supposed to do a reading that night. i have no idea if i ever did it, whether it was canceled or rescheduled.

vi. i was supposed to see a firewater concert that week and when it was rescheduled everyone was excessively, pathologically drunk and screaming the lyrics along with everyone and tod a. he’d go on to write “electric city” — his brokenhearted goodbye to his town: shine electric city shine like six thousand wings in the sky over the scene of the crime

vii. going up through the utterly familiar penn station to walk into a corner full of crowds and sunshine on 32nd street with men in full riot gear, army men with big guns, and knowing already that nyc would be ruined maybe not immediately, but eventually, somehow, for me.

viii. watching my jewish neighbors hold hands around the local muslim middle school and form phalanxes around the kids so they could get safely to their parents, buses, subway stations. oh brooklyn.

ix. walking into my office months later and seeing on my whiteboard 9/11 computer mendel noon. he lived because he was dropping one of his 13 children to school that day. i quit not long after, & not well. i’m still friends with mendel.

x. i still look for them when i’m home and have to remind myself that the new one is there instead and wish deeply for the multiverse where it isn’t & they are, instead, still.