17 years ago…what a different world it was. I managed to get in a call to my daughter, living on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, as soon as I heard that a plane had hit the Twin Towers…her voice broke as she told me she was okay, that another had hit, that Eric had already left for the day and that she was determined to go to her doctors appointment… I told her to stay home, but she didn’t. Her doctor never made it across the bridge that morning, but the doctor I worked for kept me busy, didn’t allow me to watch the TV in the waiting room, and let me close the door of my office and weep.
Whether you considered NYC a rat-infested garbage heap or the Emerald City, on That Day, we were all New Yorkers… I wish it didn’t take Tragedy to bring our country together… but even then you could see the schism forming…When I got home and could talk to them, my mom and sister both decried Melissa’s presence in the city at all –“why is she even in that godless place?”
Melissa has lived in New York for nearly 19 years now, raising her children, pursuing her singing, and working her day-job well into the night. I have made at least 40 or so round-trips, have walked Manhattan Island from stem to stern, have adopted the apartment up on 102nd as my home-away-from-home. The people there are friendly, hugging and blowing those little air-kisses around both my ears when they greet me. I wade into the fountains at Washington Square, or sit in Central Park and notice that children play just the same there as anywhere else. I visit the museums, drink coffee at the diners, ride the bus or subway with a little help from my friends. I didn’t expect to love it so much, and still wish it was closer physically to the Acres…
That day, that day… I begged her to come home… She refused… I am so awed by her strength, by her conviction that The City was where she was supposed to be. (I believe Eric would not have caught his cancer “in time” if he had been living in Eville) (I believe my grand-daughters are receiving a world-class education because she didn’t listen to my pleas) When people ask me, and they inevitably do, how they “make it” there, I just shrug. They make it on Faith…because God Is in that place, leading them along and making sure they always have enough.
You will understand (listen!)
You hold the key to love and fear
All in your trembling hand
Just one key unlocks them both
It’s there at your command…
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another