Note: I wrote the following on September 16, 2001. Time heals all wounds. Almost.
My daughter cries a few feet from where my wife and I embrace. It’s been five days since the tragedy, and each day brings with it a new range of emotions to explore. Or ignore. I’ve yet to feel rage, however. Though I know it’s as much in me as it is in you. As a young man, I would have screamed for vengeance by now, but as a new father, I’m filled with presence of mind. So I hold my wife. And she holds me. And our six-month-old daughter cries to be part of the embrace. She won’t let me mourn.
But then I close my eyes, and the black jet slides into the tower again and again and again before icons of strength rain down in a plummet of ash and bone. And innocence shatters like so much glass. I heard a plane overhead today. It wasn’t the same. Neither was last night when our pizza arrived. The delivery man was Middle-Eastern. I was ashamed of the fear that raced through me. When I shared this with my wife, our daughter laughed. She won’t let me mourn.
So one day, I’ll explain to my daughter that we are not our buildings, and that war is sometimes necessary. I’ll teach her that we are not our selected faiths, and that freedom is not free. I’ll enlighten her to the fact that we are not our bank accounts or our cars or our neighborhoods, and that we will always have more in common with other humans than we will ever have differences.
She sleeps now. A deep, blissful sleep. I envy her. She will live in a better world.
She won’t let me mourn.