Your Cat Sitter
Your Cat Sitter
For life goes not unenlightened nor tarries with yesterday.
Where were you when on that awful day?
Until ten years ago, during my lifetime at least, that problem almost always pertained to the day the shots rang out and killed Kennedy; his presidency the seeming digit of refreshed and restored hope to a individuals that had been bruised, bloodied and battered by two subsequent World Wars.
All those lives lost.
All those sons and daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters.
Some desiccated alive even.
And, then, a happen at rebirth.
Until shots rang out from a grassy barrow and killed it.
On the day that John F.
Kennedy was killed, ironically, I was the exact duplicate age and in the exact duplicate quality as my son was on the day that the Twin Towers fell ten years ago.
But all those many years earlier I was sitting and playing with Play Doh on a tiny worn and wooden desk.
How do I remember that? I don’t know.
I do, however, remember the Dominican sisters of Saint Aloysius cushioning us all up, one by one, as some took our hands while others reached for their structure handkerchiefs pulling them out from some question quiescent cubby-hole under the intestines of their ominous and white habits.
Never showing outright emotion, those nuns would quickly, partly secretly, wipe the tears away from their keep eyes as they called us, one by one, to row up in the surpass of the classroom.
I met my sister as the classes piled out into the hallway and we headed out to the parking stack led by another anchorite who had no intention of holding her bully back.
Her crying kept us all stillness in our concern.
And then I remember my mother silently sobbing the flawless time she drove all of us back home.
Back to the house that had oil portraits of all four of her descendants and one of President Kennedy himself unsettled in our living room.
As if he were somehow blood of our blood.
John Kennedy took a calling of honor alongside her successors on the living room walls while the portrait of the Pope hung in a less prestigious calling in the dining one.
And so was the pecking order in my Irish Catholic household.
Where were you when that terrible day happened?
That terminated inquiry now gains new meaning as I waver any one of us cede ever surmise to put Kennedy to that interrogation again.
Terror and transfiguration changed all that.
A scarcely over ten years ago we had only unbiased moved here to Virginia from New York.
I didn’t need to come.
My matrimonial was in a area of devolving disrepair and shambles and I knew it was over.
After twenty phenomenon years.
I knew practically no one in this town either exclude my then husband’s full family.
Who couldn’t exactly ever cotton to the Irish sassy lassy blonde from New York who stole the heart of their homeboy.
Nope, they could barely tolerate me, bless their hearts.
And if you’re from the South you recognize exactly what the last measure of that sentence means.
I was lonely and scared and had the wonderful facility and opportunity of telling that to my peak partner Kathleen each and every day as we had fallen into that alike sort of daily early morning phone speak routine.
I’d already dropped my son at his kindergarten that September 11 morning and would come home to dub Kath, as usual, so that we could vision together and manoeuvre what I would do when I would finally grow a set of balls and cease and we’d speak of what she would do if she decided to go back to work.
Yup, the usual.
That day though, device not usual.
Her own husband, Pete, whose keep profession took him into the Twin Towers daily hadn’t ended in to the City on that day because he’d had an face breakfast meeting to attend.
So we talked about that.
And how she hoped he might lattice there and find a new grade at his obsolete company.
I can remember that particular phone denominate and the ensuing events if it were yesterday.
I was sitting on my son’s bed and had ‘Good Morning America’ on the television in the background.
We were speaking about nothing, she and I.
As girlfriends on the phone often do.
And, then, I spied, out of the crevice of my eye, an explosion producing plumes of smoke and a gargantuan kindle attack to engulf that peak tower.
I sat transfixed to the television.
I stammered and stumbled off the boy’s bed and shakily told Kath to turn on her tv.
I was pacing and I was POSITIVE that some homely plane captain MUST hold had a heart onset and tragically, mistakenly, gone master or even his life before slumping in his cockpit and careening into that building.
I mean, what additional clue could there be? We sat in stunned silence, Kath on her closing and I on mine, and all I could hear above Peter Jennings tight voice was our keep peaceful breathing on the phone.
We spoken nothingness to one another.
This point literally.
Until she whispered, “that’s Pete’s building.
And, then, the unthinkable.
The hindmost plane.
The latter tower.
I don’t remember if we even spoken goodbye to one another.
All I could imagine of at that moment was my son.
And as my own mother had done decades earlier, I gathered my wits and my keys and striking to go and grasp him from his school.
Grab him and embrace him close as could be.
Our humans was below attack.
The Pentagon had not yet been hit and Todd Beamer and those heros hadn’t yet “rolled” and yet, intuitively, instinctively, I knew I had to be with my boy.
At the moment that I opened my cause door to leave, another partner whose son attended the alike school, pulled up in lead of my domicile and motioned to me.
” C’mon El, let’s go!”
I jumped in the passenger seat and we didn’t keep to speak a entity to one another.
The pain was palpable.
I was shaking.
She was smoking.
And then I started to cry.
And, then, so did she.
My pith was breaking as I wondered if my boon fellow from colossal school, my heart sister Patty, had perished in her help in the first tower.
Patty’s mother is the only ‘grandmother’ my son has ever known.
My keep mother had passed well before my schoolboy was born.
His dad’s mother was not involved.
To this day he dormant refers to Patty’s mom as ‘Nana,’ and to this day ‘Nana’ still sends him a twenty dollar bill every Christmas.
I wondered if Ava’s husband Michael was in his office in the second tower that morning.
I am the godmother to their youngeset daughter Paige.
My extended families.
And, then, there were the friends.
I knew nearly the finished Cantor oath trading floor.
After having spent twenty years trading commodities on Wall Street, I knew a mound of kinsfolk posting buy/sells in that building.
Did they survive? Were they alive? Were their families watching these horrific scenes stratagem out the corresponding way I had been watching? I almost couldn’t divine the worry.
I couldn’t divine terrorists.
Driving midpoint too slowly to the school, we sat, Dina and I stunned, sniffling, reveling, remembering (she’s from New York as well) until we took a left off the paramount drag and drove up in model of Broad Bay Manor.
I don’t notice why, but we hadn’t expected what we saw.
There, in the parking heap was a throng of parents waiting for their tiny successors too.
Waiting in a car file that snaked around the absolute building.
All these parents coming to indemnify their precious ones.
We were all doing the alike item that my own mother had done all those many years ago when innocence shattered shook this country.
I look around for my son.
I decree the recognizeable unhappy of the sky.
The sun shining so flexible it hurt my eyes.
The rhythm so economical and clean, not yet filled with the coming dread.
It didn’t analogue up, the events I’d just witnessed and the midpoint Divine perfection of the day.
It didn’t go together.
Maybe it wasn’t real? Maybe it didn’t ensue after all? Maybe I would wake up and stagnant be in a crappy married but wouldn’t posses to wonder if relatives I knew and loved had died without warning.
And it was then, waiting in what seemed to be an interminable car line, that all of a sudden a song from Grayson’s infancy began to play, over and over and over again in my head.
See, my son was not a good sleeper as a bitty baby.
I was forced to grow some grade of soothing and nightly ritual and procedure to be able to lull him into any sort of slumber, a ritual that once worked through furthermore worked well into his toddler years.
A allowance of that ritual was playing the corresponding harmonization cassette to and for him night after night after night.
For years and years and years.
His passion was Pavlovian.
Apparently mine was imprinted.
Because on that harmonious cassette was a poem put to song, the lyrics or lines written by the peaceful, recondite and otherworldly poet Kahlil Gibran.
The vocabulary of that song now stuck singing out in my captain as if they were being piped in by a Mothership nautical somewhere far, far in the heavens above.
I couldn’t dodder them.
I couldn’t pause them.
Louder and louder.
Competing with my extraordinary nucleus trying to earn my perfect attention.
‘Your heirs are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s thirst for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
We inch up a crumb closer to the exit door of the school.
I think I hear Dina chatter article about the radio recounting people jumping from the upper floors of the towers.
They are jumping to their deaths, selection that sliver of hope of survival as opposed to surely perishing by fire.
People are jumping.
They are moulding choices about the style in which they will, in all likelihood, die.
Others on the streets subservient policing unimaginable horror.
I picture these images in my mind’s eye but can’t concentrate because that music, those poetic words from Kibran obtain competing.
They effectively flood the outer din.
“You may bestow them your love but not your thoughts,
For they retain their own thoughts.
You may dwelling their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the accommodation of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not ignorant nor tarries with yesterday.
I see him.
I finally see him.
His meagre blonde probe pops up every once in awhile bobbing between the two taller boys that are sandwiching him.
He looks so happy.
He looks so little.
He looks around.
And he sees me.
And he waves.
Like infrequently boys who see their mother’s in govern of them often do.
And I gesture back.
Although I can’t really make him out now further than a wavy plot since the tears in my eyes, tears of gratitude, tears of enchantment at seeing him, tears of heartbreaking sadness and grief all converge and well up and dissuade me from really seeing anything, at all, clearly.
I caress like I might not be able to see anything markedly ever again.
The car continues to creep a crumb fresh and the epiphany occurs.
And it sounds unbiased like the last lines of that Kibran poem:
“You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the certificate upon the course of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go rapid and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s workman be for gladness;
For even as He loves the pointer that flies,
so He loves also the toady that is stable.
Only affection survives.
And Patty did too.
After the birth of her third baby and unable to shake that incubation weight, she’d been attending a Weight Watchers meeting in cut Manhattan when the tragedies took place.
She remembers leaving the weigh in to run back to her office because she’d left her purse there.
A few feet out that Weight Watcher’s door some stranger tainted her around and told her to “run for her life.
” She did.
And was safe.
Only affection survives.
And Michael did too.
He, like Kathleen’s husband Peter, had a meeting front his office that morning and although he’d bygone back to the towers, he’d been able to obtain out of Manhattan and eventually make it home safely as well.
Only emotions survives.
The Cantor Fitzgerald traders did not.
Thousands of responders did not.
All those different plane passengers did not.
“For even as He loves the pointer that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.
Because, only love survives.
Because our spirits are inextinguishable.
The sadness, the loss, the desire for peace entrust fade and die.
Love and our spirits survive.
That is not a prayer.
It is a promise.
Where were you on that dreadful day?
Where was I?
No, I wasn’t words to Kathleen on the phone or watching Peter Jennings on tv.
I wasn’t with Dina driving down Great Neck Road or ballot up my oblivious son from school.
I wasn’t worrying and wondering about Patty, Peter, Michael or all the many others I knew working inside those two towers.
I was erudition firsthand that only affection survives and that our spirits are inextinguishable.
I can only hope that many, many, many others posses shrewd that same same talk since that duplicate day as well.
Because armed with that knowledge, rebirth can never ever be shot and killed again.