A Random Image

Jett Superior laid this on you on || September 10, 2002 || 10:23 pm

Oh my Lord, my heart hurts. So does my head, but it’s not very important right now.

I guess before I say anything else I should tell you that I wandered around to all my regular reads tonight and found myself breathing a sigh of relief that no one has gone apeshit introspective over tomorrow. For several days I’ve kept away from the television, kept myself and my family otherwise occupied so that it wouldn’t be an issue. Not that it really is anyway; we have no cable/satellite/whatthefuckever and watch so little teevee (too fuckin’ busy, man!) that my friends are consistently horrified by my reminders (“No cable, mang…”) when they ask whether or not I watched this or that on so-and-so day.

I’ve been unsettled without really knowing it, and I made the mistake of doing tonight what I sometimes do when unsettled: I reached for the God Box (“I have the remote! I am God of the teevee!”) and clicked on the window to the world.

Of course, I saw the face of one firefighter speaking on his experiences that day and I was sucked in like a big fucking mindless pushover drone. I sat through every minute of the thing, getting up during commercials as I always do to accomplish this or that. Halfway through I stopped even bothering to twitch and just sat there, my arms feeling heavy and my throat aching. Everyone else retired early and quietly after shuffling in for kisses, surprisingly and respectfully enough. I didn’t offer the usual tucking-in, and no one requested.

Sam threw an over-the-shoulder remark as he left the family room: “I’ll be glad when tomorrow is over. Everyone seems to be stuck in remembering.” Too profound for a ten-year-old.

I had the requisite conversation with them a couple of mornings ago before they went to school. I explained that all the hype surrounding everything was not what it seemed and those spinning it were a shameful sort. There is no dignity in what has been splashed across the newsprint and airwaves for the last few agonizingly-spinning-toward-the-apex weeks. Hell, the past year was not much better, now that I think about it….just not so crass and overt. At least not while I was looking.

But Ay Bee See, I have to give you credick; the hour I saw tonight was tastefully- and well-presented.

I climbed out of bed and turned on the teevee last September 11th –amazingly enough– just after the first plane had hit. Fox News. That’s who delivered the story to me. I was watching as the second tower was hit, watching as they both fell, watching (yes, chum) that and I even managed to catch (ohmyholymotherofwhatthe) that. After a few minutes, common sense prevailed and I realized that I had people there, and there, and there….too many to count on one hand, too many to be rounded up quickly (okay or not), too many, too many…

I did what any member of a family of military ‘lifers’ does: detachment, cooler head, hands more still, purposeful intent, rational and systematic thought processes.

No phone lines. Even the local ones were sketchy at best, way out here in the middle of Nowherebama. I patiently waited and tried contact for a couple hours, then I left. To go to Wal-Mart. To go to the bread store. Glory, glory hallelujah. You could smell all the jumping nerves on that day. You could smell them. Me, I was detached, I think. I have been unplugged from it all for a whole fucking year now. Thinking about it, I’ve come up with why.

I mentioned that my brother has one of ‘those’ jobs in the military. It makes me look over my shoulder twice to even mention it, because I have intimate knowledge of codes both written and understood where the U.S. military is concerned. When everything happened, my focus was on making sure I had a bead on all my people, making sure that I knew where they were and that they were okay. On the top of the list, of course, was my brother.

My parents were driving around the wilds of Montana with my aunt and uncle on 11 September 2001. I tried over and over to contact them via their mobile most all day, leaving calm voice mails that they needed to contact me. Finally dad called about six pee emm my time, as I was getting out of my car.

“Hey baby, whatcha need?” he asked me, and I asked him if he’d heard from Junior.

“Naw, why….should I have?”

“Well, Dad, in light of everything that’s going on, I figured he might only have time to call you guys if anybody….”

“Everything that’s going on? What’s going on?” He was impossibly laid-back, and that made me want to cry and scream, even though I had purchased Batman Underoos earlier in the day as a distraction.

“Have you not seen a teevee? Have you not listened to the radio?”

“Well, how the hell do you propose I do that? We’re out in the middle of nowhere!”

“They’ve levelled the Twin Towers in New York,” I began, “and all hell is breaking loose. You need to get to a land line and call me if you can, or find the nearest place with a reliable tower so that we can communicate.”

“I’ll be at a place within ninety minutes.”

My parents were piddling around on vacation when it happened. It was over nine hours before they knew. That blows me away. Upon speaking with them later on, mother informed me that they were going to finish out the remaining three days of their holiday. In her astute words, “If this is the end of things as we know it, we’re not gonna cut our last good time short.” I adore my folks.

And no one heard from my brother. As a matter of fact, it was five weeks before we found out for certain that he was okay.

So there was some breath-holding there. When you’re holding your breath –even if it is at the back of your being– there’s not room for much else. You forget to do other things when you hold your breath. I forgot to grieve, to really and truly mourn the loss of innocence that our country suffered that morning. The span of a few hours left us without some very fine sons and daughters here in the Land Of The Free, and it left us with the bitter taste of distrust in our collective mouth. It left us with paranoia disguised as fact-checking and loss of liberty disguised as security. To me, that is the worst slap in the face that we could ever deal to those who died, both on our own soil last year and on ground far, far away some years ago. But, of course, I digress, because this post is not to make known my political beliefs or espouse doctrines (aren’t we all oh-so-tired of that??) that I hold dear, but to tell you I am rather slow, because I have just begun to feel the sorrow so heavy that I just want to climb into the comfort of myself, pull the blanket of delusion over my head and sleep in that place in my psyche where everything is perpetually okay.

Or simply quake and suck my proverbial thumb and not come out for a while. Indulge me? Because I am so, so, so very fucking sad and everything I put here in this space seems so inadequate and lame-sounding. I hate this feeling of despair. My eyes keep itching, for fucksakes.

I want rain tomorrow. I want thunder to crash and lighting to explode all about. I want the heavens to open up and make my tears insignificant in the face of those hitting the trees and streets and lamp posts; I want big, walloping gales that I can take into me in huge gulps….so I can fill the hole, so I can push back the fire inside.

Here in a little bit, at midnight, I will quietly go and place two pillar candles on my front porch rail and light them. I will give the sign of the cross, even though I’m not Catholic, because I have always done it. It feels like bringing God into me. When I awake in the morning I will use those two candles to light two other candles. I will do this once again in the early afternoon, and when those two candles finally drip their way into oblivion and snuff out sometime after dark I will sleep fitfully, as I always do when I watch ‘things’ on teevee. The nightmares will be fresh again, having been fed, and they will be full of themselves and damned fetid.

I don’t want my grief to be part of this whole grotesque show. I want it to be simple and quiet and steadfast.

I will light twin candles this way every year that God sees fit to let me draw breath. I’m so sorry for your loss, America. So, so sorry.

5 worked it out »

  1. G. Oldielocks 9.11.2002

    So very well said, Jett. Thank you.

  2. waistdog 9.11.2002

    That WAS well said.

    Makes me feel bad for only posting a picture.

    But then, I was busy on the roof.

    Guarding the homeland against the Axis of Evil.

  3. Jett 9.11.2002

    G. Oldie Banana….thank you.

    waisty…your roof-guarding entry MADE MY DAY. It was the first time in twelve hours that I squeezed tears from laughing. It was PERFECT.

    And on a serious note, the Piggly Wiggly shirt is hard to come by (CAN YOU *BELIEVE* IT???), but I may have a line on one. I need a size, sir.

  4. waistdog 9.13.2002


    Wowie! Aren’t you nice.

    I would be large or xtra large, depending on what foreign land the shirts are manufactured in.

  5. Bob 9.14.2002

    damn…you are good….and keep that code stuff to yourself,huh…no need to advertise it….right?


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