9/15/15 Breeze (part 5)

“Are you hungry. Andy? Breakfast?” Brent was off the phone now. Brent stood behind the couch that faced the TV.

Oh my Gosh. Good God! yelled the TV.

Tyler looked at the TV. The camera zoomed in on a speck falling from one of the smoking building.

Oh, Dear God. People. People are, the woman speaking on the TV stuttered then said, People are jumping from the building. People are flinging themselves from the broken wreckage. This is–this is unprecedented. This is—

Tyler heard a cough. He turned and looked up into Brent’s face. The man wasn’t crying. No, this time the look on his face was much worse. it was stretched and thin and pale. He looked like Tyler had felt that time he’d gotten real sick and thrown up all over the desk at school. Dad was shaking his head.

“Let’s mute it,” said Dad. “I can’t listen to this.”

“What about the news? What about Alison. What–what—”

“We won’t know what’s happened, we can’t know,” said Dad. “We, we should play a game, maybe.”

“A game?” asked Brent, like he’d never known the word, like he’d never played a game in his life.

Now it look as though another explosion has hit the second building, said the TV.

They all looked at it.

It looks as though something has fallen off the second building. We have Dan Rutherford there, on the ground. Dan, can you tell us what you’re seeing?

On the TV smoke was billowing up. shot into the air slightly, but mostly it spread out, swallowing up other buildings in its path.

Yes, Dianne. I’m four blocks away from the World Trade Towers, and Tower Two has just collapsed, said a man’s voice.

The woman’s voice. It collapsed? The whole building?

Yes. It fell in on itself. It looked much like a demolishing of an old building. It looked like a demolition.

Yes, thank you, Dan, said the woman. It looks as though Tower Two has collapsed. These are just incredible images, incredible.

Dad crossed in front of Tyler and sat down on the couch. Brent did the same. Tyler looked at them. Brent with his wide shoulders and cropped hair, dad in his long coat with short, scratchy hair on his cheeks and chin. Both men looked drawn and pale and at a loss for what to do.

“Look at us,” said Dad.

“I know,” Brent responded.

“Tyler, come here,” said Dad. Tyler went and Dad wrapped his arms around him and help him close. “Everything will be alright,” he said into Tyler’s ear.

“We’ve come a long way,” said Brent.

“Sorry it takes something like this,” said Dad.

“Me too,” said Brent.

Tyler wasn’t sure what they were talking about. The news report continued to roll. No new information. No new footage. All anybody knew was that The United States of America were under attack.

“I don’t blame her, you know,” said Dad.


“I don’t,” he said.

“Ok. Maybe you’ll get to tell her.”

“I’m telling you,” said Dad.

“You’ll get to tell her,” said Brent.

“I don’t—”

“You’ll get to tell her,” Brent repeated. There was a finality to his voice.

Dad nodded. Tyler looked at him. His father’s eyes were far and away. In a time and place Tyler didn’t know or remember.

9/12/15 Breeze (Part 2)

The breeze snuck under the cracked open window. It gave just enough air-flow to the place to keep it from being stuffy in the bedroom. The breeze swept over a landscape of blankets and pillows and some red hair. It brought a springtime scent. It brought a young boy awake. Light shimmered outside his window. Tyler was vaguely aware that he was probably late for school. That didn’t happen often. His mom usually got him up on time–or Brent. Nice Guy Brent. Tyler thought Brent was actually a nice guy. And he liked Tyler’s mom. Loved her by the looks of yesterday. When Tyler had seen those kinds of rings in movies they were always ringed with diamonds, or just one really big one. But the ring Brent had given Mom was just a golden metal band. Nothing flashy or special, besides the fact that it was a ring. Tyler didn’t know any kids who wore rings, so he figured rings were a pretty specialized article of–were they clothing?

A sound came from down the hall. It wasn’t the sound Tyler expected. It wasn’t the sound of frying bacon and eggs. Brent made the best bacon and eggs whenever he stayed over. But this sound was more like a groan. Like the sound your stomach makes when you’ve eaten something that just doesn’t sit quite right.

Tyler looked toward the door where the sound came from. Ghost? Ghosts only came out at night, so probably not. The sound came again. Tyler climbed out of bed and navigated his Star Wars action figures which he’d left strewn about the floor. He opened the door–the house was old so it creaked a bunch, as did the hardwood floor in the hallway. In the kitchen there was nothing cooking. The frying pan was on the island stove top, black and cold and completely unoccupied.

A groan came from the den. There was a shrill sound in Tyler’s ears. One that he regularly got when a TV was on in a room nearby. He went around the kitchen island and pushed open the door to the den. Inside, Brent sat on the couch, his shoulders hunching over the coffee table. The news was on. Red headlines scrolled across the screen. People were talking smoke was billowing from buildings. Brent’s body shook and Tyler became aware that the moaning–how had he heard it through two doors and down the hall?–was Brent crying. But he was a grown-up. Tyler knew grown-ups didn’t cry–except Mom, a couple times, after talking to Dad.

“Are you crying?” asked Tyler.

Brent swiveled and stared. His eyes red. He was. His longish hair was sticking out and his long nose was red underneath. He held a tissue up to his mouth and shook his head in a no, but it was a lie. When he spoke it was quiet and a croak like a frog. It was not anything Tyler had ever heard before.

“Come sit by me,” he said.

Tyler walked around the white couch and the arm chair next to it and sat next to Brent. They watched the TV. Tyler watched and saw–actually saw what had happened. He’d seen those buildings before–that city was his city. The New York Giants were his team and the Mets, dad said, would always be the most underrated team in baseball because the Yankees where such posterboys. The screen switched from the smoking buildings. The same buildings were there, but only one was smoking. Then a plane appeared, it shot across the sky. When it hit the second tower there was an instant, just a fraction of a moment–where nothing happened the plane was gone, the building fine. Whoever had been holding the camera shook the image a little. Tyler felt as though a magic trick had been done. The plane had entered the building and nothing had happened. He waited, watching for it to exit the other side–after all, a magic trick was only good if you made something reappear after it has gone. But the plane didn’t reappear. Fire burst from the other side of the building. It was like a movie. A strange movie, Tyler thought. He’d never heard of it before.

9/11/15 Breeze

The breeze was like any other breeze, though it was a wind. It pushed her hair and her face, her white blouse whipped around her. Allison wondered, for a moment, how she’d come to be there. Thins had been so normal, so calm, so this is like every work day of your life.

She thought back to the day before. That had been similar. She drove Tyler to school, he had only been eight back then. His mop of sandy hair–he was going to grow up to be such a handsome young man–and after she’d dropped him off she was going to (his father would pick him up) and then Brent was there. Brent in a rather dusty suite. For some reason it was appropriate and as Tyler stood there in front of St. Mary’s and all the kids were streaming into the school, Brent walked right up to her. His suite was dark blue, but faded, and his pants khaki with a crease. She was still holding Tyler’s hand, his so small in hers. Brent had walked right to them, his left hand pulled something from his pants pocket. And that was when Allison realized what he was going to do and she realized that she would say yes. Up until that moment she hadn’t thought about it. But in the time it took for him to walk to her and then to kneel, she had done a lot of thinking.

Time was slower than anyone gave it credit for.

A breeze kicked up and tossed her hair back behind and out and around, just like the day before. The view beyond the tops of buildings was beautiful. The shimmer of the Hudson, the reflection of the morning sun. It was beautiful.

The breeze made a rushing in her ears. A strong whoosh. A scent of Aspen. Of cool snow and mountain air. A memory from her childhood. How many breezes like this did you get? No more than one. And most people probably less. And Allison had two.

She should think herself lucky, she told herself. She should feel as though her life was among–oh, maybe–the top five lives ever lived. Two moments she’d had of complete art. Not even Van Gogh could claim that, she guessed.

Below her people stared up and watched. Time for them moved as slow as for Allison. A homeless man in ragged, torn jeans–old Levi’s left over from his sober life–watched with dawning comprehension as she fell. He couldn’t tell it was a she. It was just a person. There was so spin to the decent, just a calm, pure plummet. His tongue found the open place where he missed a tooth. He’d lost it recently and couldn’t stop–like a boy picks a scab–even when it started bleeding again. When he looked back on the situation he wouldn’t recall much, not at first. It all happened so fast, he’d say. It all happened and I was high. Thought it was just bad dope, you know? Just bad stuff I picked up in the park and at any moment I’d wake up. But he never did. And Allison never did either.