My feet were on fire. Crippled as though I intentionally walked a turtle pace over searing coals. Yet there was a determination to arrive before sunset.
My last memory of the towers were seen through the eyes of a chubby child. Brooding monoliths – the epicenter of New York. I recall peering up at them, agog at their ability to touch the heavens, wondering if they communed with God. We visited a store, a vast one where I could select any doll representing a country. My visual senses were intrigued with a doll from Panama, she was clothed in a flamenco style dress, dark glossy hair spilling down, a serene smile suffusing her face. Little did I know her gypsy image would become my emblem.
After that, I filed away those memories as an important site of New York, where workers conducted business and sold pretty dolls. Until September 11, 2001. I secretly rallied against a corporate mentality, but my beliefs were not in play here. Politics, personal ethics, or conspiracy theories aside, those who perished were humans with dreams, possibly even to escape a 8/9 hour day in the towers. What a horrible way to exit, most undesired.
I walked down Worth Street, willing my aching legs to comply – make it to Center at least. I cut down Church Street, eager to trek to the end. What hit me was a mob of workers/commuters.
All of them in a mad rush to start the long commute home. Maybe as far as Brooklyn or Queens. The edges of sunset started to form on the horizon. People walked by the site unfazed, probably