It was the year 2001.  Three weeks before my birthday you tried to murder me.

Very early in the day, the sun was still greeting the blue skies and the billowy white clouds fluffing about.  The heavens kissed and caressed in fanciful gestures. They touched and sighed.

Out of nowhere you claimed the tranquility and employed

every effort to deter my day’s end.          

Valiant! It was. Magnificent! Bravo!

No lack of courage or ingenuity, you bombarded my sanity. Hell’s finest was deployed.

What you didn’t know was that I was promised seven thousand, three hundred more days and then some more,

To grow, share and experience;

How could you know! Mere mortal.     

It was a Tuesday of promise, with naught else in the offing

Until you raised your hand against me 

Why? How? I never knew you.

You made my ears ring, even now they do; my eyes leaked adrenaline and on the insides scorched my fragile arteries. My heart bunched up in my throat and refused to return to its base.

Sheltering under a shredded awning coaxing it back into pace….I smelled death but was transfixed, stiff with fear and massive chest pains….relax, I pleaded, visualize, breathe.

The veil of life was pulled back. Move and you die, my heart said, stay and you will surely die, my brain reasoned. I focused, I stood still clutching my chest……..screams rend the air. My mouth was dry,

All I had was a prayer…..I prayed, “Hallowed be Thy name”…focus, focus.

I relaxed and was willing to go. I made peace.

You were unleashing some of your finest work, severed heads, arms, feet without shoes.

Slowly I moved.  Ever so slowly, inching away from the rain of unforgiving objects that fell down like black manna. Manna that was not sustaining.

The man said I could not come into his establishment because of my color. My friend said he was racist. I pushed on. Even at the edge of hell, there is that. The cacophony was incredible. The word ‘din’ was finally understood. My head ached. I asked for relief. It was swift. Like in a cocoon I was swept up and the sounds pushed back. I stepped over unmentionables as I wandered around dazed and utterly confused. You are exacting like Shylock; pounds of flesh, your phantasmagoric heat dried up the blood. I cannot measure your heat. I am not moving fast enough primarily because I am lost in the tangle of bodies tumbling down Dante’s stairways. Level after level and then, another of your incredible sounds.

The Towers shook, ballooned in girth. They came down like synchronized divers. A new monster miles high and all-encompassing chased after those of us in its wake who were not eaten at their base. I found new life. Fear had become my wings. I ran.

As I write this I am exhausted and am finding it impossible to say more, except that I would like to tell you some of the things I did with my seven thousand three hundred days.

I took care of and buried my parents when the time had come. I welcomed a grandchild who is a delight. I spent ten days in the ICU with gall bladder worries, I completed a degree at Fordham University, I threw a birthday party, I have read over four hundred books, laughed, buried my dog, cooked many many meals, listened to miles of music as I am doing right now. I could go on.

Thank you for centering my reality and absolutely bolstering my Faith. You are faceless and not embodied because you are evil.

I thank God for new life and fresh air and the joy of the little things that matter. The smell of rain falling on dry earth. Bees, Alpacas, birds migrating, eyes, strong legs, friends. 

September 10, 2021.

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