This is dedicated to all of those affected by 9/11. I didn't directly know anyone in the tragedies, but I have friends who lost friends and family. Regardless of that, it killed me.
This is my little thought into what Mac must be going through each anniversary, and who he has to turn to. It switched POV to Stella at the end, just incase you thought he might've been having an out-of-body experience and began talking in the third person ;) :p
Four years and what do I have to show for it? Well, my savings have increased; so has my gut; not to mention the bags under my eyes. They've doubled. Maybe even tripled. I don't look in the mirror long enough to count 'em.
You know, I come here every year to sit on this bench and watch. I see some familiar faces here today. People I've seen here each year. Take that guy over there. The one in the black leather jacket and tan trousers. He comes every year at 8am and leaves around 1. Some people will walk around, chatting to family and friends, some people will just collapse in tears, screaming for their loved ones…but no him.
He just stands there, in that exact spot, the whole time. One hand above his head, holding onto the railings; the other hand at chest height. He just stares into the hole. He doesn't move. He doesn't go for a soda. He doesn't talk to anyone. He just…stares.
I suppose I do that. I just sit here all day. I never say anything to anybody. The only person I even acknowledge is that guy when he walks past me to go home. We only nod a hello, but in that second I recognise every emotion he feels as my own. In his eyes, I can see the hurt that has yet to fully heal; the hardship of trying to go on like nothing has happened, when really it breaks you apart at every moment; the wishing…the longing…and the small glimmer of hope that still hasn't died.
I've decided that that hope is attached to how well I can still picture everything. Your corner office with the view of the park. The café near the top where we'd take our lunch breaks together, before I'd walk you back to your office with a kiss. Its all still there as if we still did it everyday. As if there isn't a giant gaping hole where you once worked. As if you hadn't been ripped from my grasp.We cant do anything anymore. can do things and wish you were doing them with me, but when it comes down to it, I'm alone. Again. Why did you go into work that morning? Why couldn't you just phone in sick or something? Why did you have to leave me?
You know, if it wasn't for Stella, I wouldn't be who I am today. If it wasn't for her, I'd probably be with you now. And as much as I want that, for just one day, I know now that that wouldn't be right. She's helped me every step of the way. Even if it wasn't directly, she'd let me know that she was there if ever and when ever I needed her. She misses you too.
I can still remember when they tried to announce all the deaths at the first anniversary. So many people were missed out. So many details. "Claire Taylor, 31". That was all they said. That and that you worked in the first tower. Nothing about your long brown hair, your hazel eyes, your contagious smile. Nothing about how you could knock up 50 cupcakes the night before for the little girls bake-sale next door. About how you could drink anybody under the table when provoked. About how you'd make my heart skip a beat when you walked in the room.
And so here I am. Outside Ground Zero, remembering you and our too-short time together. You know I love you, right? You know that whatever happens, you're always going to be the love of my life. The one. Nothing and no-one can ever change that. Stella asked me once why I still had my ring on. I couldn't honestly tell her why. Was it because of that microscopic glimmer of hope that I would wake up from the worst dream of my life? Was it because I was afraid that if I took it off I'd forget you? Or was it that I am actually afraid of moving on, when moving on is without you? I still couldn't tell you.
I did it though. It took me hours to finally slide that ring off my finger. I went back and forth with the debate, asking myself if I was ready. I finally decided I was. I knew, know, that I will never forget. That piece of jewellery isn't going to suddenly erase all of our memories. It is just the final barrier between me and my future.
'My future'. Huh. Its not turning out how we'd pictured it, is it? I never ever dreamed that I'd be going on a date with a different woman. But I did it. I wouldn't say I did it well, but I did it. We went for drinks, we talked, I drove her home. I didn't kiss her though. That is going to take a long time before I'm comfortable with somebody else's lips. But I think…one day? Maybe one day I'll be able to. But I don't think Rose is that woman. Maybe I'll never find her. Maybe I already have. I just don't know.
Are you happy? I hope you are, where ever you are. I hope that you can still see me and are still close to me.
So, here I am. Sat on this bench every year, just watching everybody else. Remembering all our times together. Mourning what we've lost.
I knew he'd be here. I don't know why I doubt myself. He's here every year. Same place, same time.
He looks so lost. A little boy in a big big world. This is the only time that this man ever looks small to me.
He's one of many that come here each year to pay their respects. I don't know if I'd be able to stomach coming here if I wasn't here for him. I think I'd be like that woman there, sobbing my heart out over what happened. I didn't lose anybody like she lost somebody, though. She lost her son, I lost a couple of friends. Mac lost his wife. The one person he chose to love for the rest of his life. How do you bounce back from something like that? How do you carry on?
I admire Mac for that. Its been a hard slog, a long hard slog, but here he is, on the other side. He's living his life. Maybe he'd living it for the two of you, I don't know, but he's breathing, he's working, he's living. That's all I could ask for.
When you died, he died too. And so did I. My pain was in no comparison to Mac's, but what hurt I felt, multiplied when I saw how much of Mac was disappearing in front of my eyes. I tried my hardest, I really did, to help him through it. But was could I honestly do? Tell him everything was going to be okay? 'Don't worry, you'll get over it'! I just tried to let him know that I was here for him, and that he wasn't alone.
I searched everywhere for him on the first anniversary. I went to your, his, house, I went to work and he was nowhere. I don't have to tell you how petrified I was. I knew deep down he wouldn't do anything stupid, but how much trust can you really invest into somebody who's been through what he had, and on a day like that was.
So I came here. Ground Zero. I walked the whole block trying to find him, just on the off chance. He was sat on that bench. He had his best suit on, that blue tie you loved, and a look that could break the hardest of hearts. I walked right up to him, but he didn't flinch, he didn't even know I was there. So I just sat next to him. I didn't say anything, I didn't try to get him to come home, I just sat next to him and held his hand. He grabbed onto my hand as if it was the only thing grounding him to this world. It broke my heart.
The next year I came prepared. I knew he was going to be here, same suit, same tie, same cry for help. It was bitterly cold that September, so I brought a blanket and some hot coffee. I stopped at that Bagel shop you loved so much and picked up your favourite and brought them too him. And we just did the same. He watched the world go by, as I anchored him down to this earth.
I've learnt a little bit more every year. I now bring 2 thermoses of Coffee, 4 Bagels and his scarf. Next year maybe ill bring something else. But I know exactly what I'll be doing. I know exactly where I'll be.