© 2001 Jane MacDonald
by Jane MacDonald
I saw the whole thing from the beginning--I was having my
morning cup of tea after breakfast on Tuesday, after the kids had
left for school. As always, I turned on the TV, and was checking the
news when it all started.
For two whole days I mostly sat and watched TV, except for the
grocery store and other essentials. The emotional impact was
basically nil, but I had to know what happened. Right away
I started worrying about what various idiots would do in the name
of a security that's an illusion, but the rest was nothing that big,
nothing to carry on about. It was like an earthquake. Shit happens.
Yesterday the Boston cops made fools of themselves persecuting
some poor Muslims in a hotel--typical. Aside from the pictures,
most of what was on the TV was bullshit, of course. I didn't
have to explain it to my kids--they're old enough to see it for
themselves and make what they want of it. They're kind of quiet,
This morning I got on the computer and paid bills. Ate lunch.
Before walking off to the bank, about three blocks away, I was
sitting on the toilet and thought about Mr. Ortiz, a youngish
Hispanic guy who always takes care of me at the bank for anything
out of the ordinary. He's been doing it for years, and whenever
I go there, I always wave and he waves back and we smile, and
maybe we say hello, even if I don't need his help. So I'm sitting
there and I thought, I hope Mr. Ortiz didn't decide to take
a quick trip to New York last Tuesday. And then I started crying.
The whole horrible thing hit like a ton of bricks.
I couldn't go to the bank. Too scary. It was crazy, but I was
too worried about Mr. Ortiz. Instead, I took the train downtown
and just walked around. Everything looked the same. Same hot,
humid, unpleasant weather that looked good if you happened to
be sitting in an air-conditioned room looking out. Saw a post
office, remembered I had the quarterly income tax payments
in my bag ready to go, so I decided to mail them. The line was
long, and I pointed out the delivery window to some student
holding a package notice so she wouldn't have to wait for
no reason. Outside, I saw a travel-gear store I used to
shop at, closed and empty, out of business for a month now.
People were going up and down Boylston street, carrying
packages, buying things, I guess, like nothing had happened.
I began to sweat, and yearned for something vague that I
couldn't name, like maybe last Monday, so I headed toward
Back Bay Station, slowly, looking at the innocent blue sky. Got
on the train, same thing, just the way it always is. Got off,
started walking home, slowly.
On the way, I went to the bank. And there he was, just like
always. We waved because he was busy with somebody, and
I deposited checks and got some walking around money and
came home, and I'm still weepy. I don't really know why. The
kids will be home soon.