Okay so I see on TV all of these shows replaying the nightmare that was 9/11. In the mix there was a show going over the events in people’s lives of the day before. The show reminded me of something that happened two days before Sept. 11th 2001. So here goes…
Prior to that day, I’d spent a couple of weeks up in NYC with a co-worker doing some work for a major retailer. We’d been doing some install work overnight during the week in downtown Brooklyn and midtown Manhattan. Since he’d never really “seen” NYC I decided to take him around.
We visited a few of my former co-workers who worked across the street from the World Trade Center at the World Financial Center. I showed him where I saw the filming of movies Godzilla and Booty Call. We ate our way uptown, across town and back downtown.
He got to experience (I think) his first NYC street fair and later we cruised The Village. Ponting out the Blue Note and Village Vanguard and showed him S.O.B.’s. I showed him my favorite Indian restaurant and also La Chinita across the street on 8th Avenue.I took him down into the subway and we visited my birthplace Harlem U.S.A. I even showed him where the Rucker Tournament was held. We had a good time.
I’d spent time explaining the dynamism that was NYC to him being he’s from Alabama and only knew it from the perspective of from the outside in. I showed him what I loved about Brooklyn and The Bronx and Queens…I even mentioned Staten Island.
I pointed out to him where Palisades Amusement Park was located across the Hudson…I was starting to really miss blading and jamming with my good friend Rafik (NYC based saxophonist and one of the best I’ve ever heard bar none) by this point.
Though all of that, we never got down to the World Trade Center complex. So the last day before we left we headed down there. I think it was a Saturday (though it felt like a Sunday for some reason).
Absolutely beautiful day out. We arrive back downtown and are standing at the foot of the north tower leaning back looking up the east side of the building …craning our necks to see the top.
I’d been up to the top dozens of times.
So, the thought occurred to me that maybe he would like to see the view from the top. I asked him and he said no. I suspect it was a height thing.
I tried to convince him there was nothing to fear that we could even go up and not go outside though I wanted to being there was such a flawless sky that morning). He still refused. Then I said…
“Hey man, you might as well go. You might not ever get the chance again…”
I just looked at him. But…he still didn’t want to go so we wandered off.
The next day we headed to the airport to fly back to Florida. Just before entering the terminal, for some reason I stopped, turned around and looked back towards Manhattan focusing on the twin towers.
Remembering all of the times driving up the east coast I would look for them soon after entering New Jersey. Or when as a kid I would look back towards them as my father drove out of the city heading to his home out on Long Island.
Strange as it may sound I was thinking about what I had said the day before…
“…You might not ever get the chance again…”
“Got any bags to check?”
“Bags. You got any bags?”
“Oh! Yeah here ya go.” I was holding up the curb side check-in line.
Naturally we wish all the best to those who’ve suffered from those tragic events and curse those who profited for the sake of greed or hate. And for all of us – especially those who saw from the outside in – remember, this rock ain’t but so big so we must do a better job of making room for each other.
Hear the music.
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