"It was still early in the day and the sun shone brightly. The air a combination of cool September breezes and a burning heat from hell surrounded me. Shattered was my city, my people and myself. At home where we are taught to feel safe, I waited and sat at the base of his apartment door. My spine, which rested against the door of Apt. 8F; the one that he usually pushed wide open with his foot because his arms were always filled with movies or his camera or something sweet to eat, but mostly with love and happiness was where I waited for a good portion of the day.I came back inside my own apartment, listened to the constant roar of the engines pass. More help is on the way. Doctors stood outside the hospital across the street from where I live. They waited with open arms for what they hoped would be someone to save. Not one person ever arrived. Not one. First Avenue was filled with doctors and nurses sitting on curbs, sadness in their faces, the ones they held in their hands.Shock is a strange feeling. It has a calming effect that you know should be worrisome but somehow feels protective. I fell into my chair, relented and turned on the television. What would I learn that I didn’t already know? I live close enough that I could hear, smell and see all that was going on.The white sheers that romantically covered my windows at the time, six panels to be exact were best viewed at night when they added a warm glow to the skyline. Suddenly, one, just one blew softly. Not a full on strong breeze mind you a soft and lingering lift. Straight to the top of the room. Just one – the one closest to his living room window, you know the one near the wall that we shared; where he’d knock early Sunday mornings and ask what I wanted this week from the bakery.He was home, passed through, and covered me in love and tenderness, as he always did. He lingered for some time, I felt him stay with me in spirit. He waited with me until I could manage the truth. He was gone. Friends insisted that I was wrong when we spoke, that I was quick to decide; that we might find him trapped somewhere. I just smiled and shook my head. I knew because he made sure, I did. I love him for that more than any reason. I love him for all that he did while he was alive. To be held by him in that time of despair and know that he waited with me to accept the truth is a gift I will forever cherish. Those moments come to me often when I am in turmoil. I remember Billy and I remember the feeling I had when he lingered around me on September 11th. .For nine days they all put off leaving. Nine days the spirits listened with us to the engines and sirens, the police and the workers. They watched with us the falling paper that flew downtown New York City for days… The missing persons’ faces posted on every available space – building walls, every telephone pole, under car windshields. An eerie feeling and if you ask any New Yorker what I’m talking about they will know what I mean, and then they will try to explain the unimaginable to you.I am as sure today as I was then that the spirits of all of those murdered stayed with us. Perhaps the line into heaven was overloaded? Perhaps they knew we needed them just a bit longer? Were they reluctant to leave? Grabbing whatever they could before they left? I’ll never know for sure. However, surely I know they stayed for longer than I expected. Believe me, I am the first person to argue that stories like this are “ridiculous” but I promise you they waited around.We moved in unison, frozen in time – the broken spirits of survivors with hearts sewn to the spirits that took their time moving on. Together we were one for longer than you might expect. Nine days and then suddenly we felt the tug, the lightening of the thick and haunting air. The smoke and brown-gray cloud slowly started to break apart. The sirens finally silenced. The quiet, the aftermath, the light over it all. The smell of the dead and burning debris slowly dissipated. Our city looked like a war zone. As a matter of fact, our city was at the beginning stage of war.One heart and one spirit – together united in love and fear and sorrow. We held each other close, cooked for each other, called family friends for our neighbors. United, and in the seven years that have passed, not one of those days has had the power to remove our scars completely, or the nightmares that still sometimes stop us in our tracks, or the jitters when we’re on a train, or the strange and apparent quiet of the downtown area, where all streets never see sunshine because the buildings are so tall. Actually, they never saw the sun but now it’s very noticeable.We promised them then as we continue to do now as we hold hands under the “hole in the sky” – they killed our skyline too you know – that we would never forget. Moreover, we won’t. We couldn't if we wanted to."
~written by nancy fischer
~photo by nancy fischer http://www.newyorknancy.etsy.com/
thank you for sharing your story with us nancy.
in loving memory of Captain William Burke, Jr. Engine 21 and all who were lost on 9/11.
~be grateful, always~