In a conversation with a friend the other day, he mentioned that he spent an afternoon in Dallas last year. He had visited Dealey Plaza and the Sixth Floor Museum. I’ve never been there.
But isn’t that how outsiders mark our lives? By our tragedies. If your parents died or divorced, or you were molested as a child, or you were bullied – it explains so much about who you are today.
I’m standing by the south pool. I’m too short to see all the way to where the second pool ends – the second layer of the waterfall. Maybe no one can see more than me – even on my tiptoes, I just see water rushing into a never-ending black square. But I remember waking up to a mother who for the first time in my childhood couldn’t explain what was happening on TV – or how we would spend the day.
Today the north waterfall is off. The pool is quiet, glistening in the bursts of sunshine and peacefully nodding next to the waterfall’s edge – like the end of the fire, the end of the collapse, when everyone who could be saved had been. And groups of us throughout the rest of country gathered in churches, sat in circles, holding hands in prayer. But there are less people around the silent pool. There was no white noise in which conversation could hide, or to disguise weeping.
I don’t know her name and I can’t see the name she’s weeping into, but twenty yards to her right, I’m crying with her. I can’t stop it. We mark our lives in tragedies because we want to understand. At least, I do.
Christopher Michael Grady.
I can almost stick my pinky finger into the hollowed, sans serif font capitol C. I don’t know him, or anyone who died in the Towers come to think of it. Matthew Carmen Sellito. Deborah Merrick. Prem Nath Jerath.
My eyes skim over every name as I walk around the square.
As I am walking away from the North Pool, a little boy is gazing up, covering one eye. I asked him what he was looking at. “I’m imagining what it looked like.”
He was eight.
Has it really been more than a decade?