Creative Writings For Light Readings
Life, Green Among the Gray
A close friend of mine was living in New York City when the planes hit. Seven years later, we sit outside a coffee shop in Salt Lake City. The wind and overcast skies create a panorama that could be found anywhere; Salt Lake City, London, downtown Manhattan. We wrap around our coffees as Beethoven's Thirteenth Quartet sifts around us. There we indulge in our usual repartee, although there is a taste of hidden emotion in the bitter wind, and in the coffee and concrete grounds. It's her eyes that are first to change; they produce a flash of colliding steel upon glass upon cement, of a blazoning inferno and of dust. Her lips move now, in quick succession, her throat forging quavering sounds. She speaks rapidly, in that broken New York accent which will forever remind me of the playful fog that secretes from sewers in vulnerable city streets. And it begins, her words give birth a rolling projector in my mind: she, a young Catholic school girl, with her face pressed to the apartment window, feeling every bodily organ constrict as the towers lurch before her. It was September in New York, yet she feels an impassioned heat infiltrate the city, the subways violently expelling ever more nervous bodies. She regurgitates minute details, like the taunting drip of forehead sweat that hit the wooden floor, as bodies fell to the pavement far below. Her shock, and that of the thousands of living room witnesses, was incomprehensible and short lived. The dust came; whispered around neatly-windowed giants to swallow the destroyed world below. And with it, a stench of the unknown set in. The fog had censored the terror with a miraculous efficiency that only nature holds, and that men tirelessly strive for. And it is at that moment, when she describes the deafening of New York by the cacophonous symphony of dust and debris and human anguish, that I return to the uncomfortable cold of an outdoor chair at the coffee shop. For it was the collision-created dust that causes her memory to die prematurely, as many energies of life do. So she presses the coffee to her lips and sips, stalls, hesitates. And my eyes dive to the floor, still experiencing a fiery reverie of empathy. My irises alight upon a nub of green flower reaching out from the gorges of concrete slab all around. It exists there patiently, and with a humble presence. I wonder about vines upon sky scrapers, coalesced whirls of steely grays and forest greens, and I suddenly feel how everything is connected. Mysteriously, yet exponentially. My friend lets a tear fall to the gray earth below. My heart, with it's many interloping channels, prays that her tear finds the plot of green, among the gray.