There is some truth to that New Yorker cover.

I remember talking to my friends later that week. Maybe the one thing that surprised all of us was all the calls, checking up on us, wondering if we were okay.

School is nowhere near the Towers. We were somewhat confounded by the frantic calls hoping we were okay.

If I told you that it was 1.5 miles to the towers, you might think that that’s pretty close. Well, no. The Financial District was worlds away from the East Village. It’s at least several subway stops. Maybe a thirty-minute walk. You had to cross through Soho. Chinatown/Little Italy. TriBeCa. Then you were in the Financial District. Worlds apart.

But on that day, no matter where in the five boroughs you lived, to a non-New Yorker you were potentially near the Towers. The towers’ footprint grew to encompass the entirety of New York City. The city shrank to those few city blocks bordered by Trinity, Vesey, West, and Liberty.

I’m still not sure if I can answer the question, “Are you okay?”

3 thoughts on “There is some truth to that New Yorker cover.

  1. But don’t you understand? For those of us who lived in NYC, conducted our business and our lives in that place, we know how often life seems to inexorably draw us to that area. The subways, the sheer number of companies in the buildings, the hotel with its conference rooms… How many meetings, seminars, visits did I have down in WTC? How many times in the last week, the last month, the last year I was there?

    And now I was 3000 miles away, in a land of eternal sun and blasted heat and rebirth and death and constant nothing and all of the sudden my friends were in danger and I had no idea about their lives, where was class today, who had what meeting where, was somebody meeting someone for an interview…

    And I had to know, then, right then. Was Tony okay? Was Sendhil okay? Were Bill and Laura okay? All my friends, all my compadres of five years that I barely even remember anymore… the mass death, the totality of obliteration, and who the fuckall knew who was alive and who was dead and who was dying and who was trapped and….

    The City is a big city, but it’s also a meshed city. You can be anywhere. One hour you’re at Lincoln Center enjoying a string quartet and the next hour you’re at dba slugging down beers made by monks in a country you forgot existed.

    Dammit, don’t wonder why we called.

    We love, and then we were afraid we lost.

  2. It was perhaps not that people called, but that people called that we didn’t expect to hear from.

    Maybe it’s also a response to shrug it all off as nothing big: it’s a response to the sheer shock of it all. Denial.

    For my part, I can’t discern between denial and merely keeping things in perspective anymore.

  3. Is not denial just an extreme form of perspective?

    And calls from people you didn’t expect only shows that, on the balance, you’re more loved than you realize.

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