Doug glanced up at the big void
where the buildings once stood.
could anyone do that? All those people, and for what? Thank God, no one I know
was there. Thank goodness, Garret’s train was running late. Even from across
the river, seeing the buildings fall, one minute there, the next not, awful.
Not knowing if Garret was alive or dead. The not knowing was awful, and it
seemed to last forever. Then getting his call when the phones were back up. It
was a relief. Still, the not knowing? Horrible. How do survivors do it?
Doug shuddered. He had to look away
before he started to cry again. That day. The world wasn’t the same. How could
it be? Would it ever be the same again? He swiped at his eyes, keeping the
tears he was trying to hold back from dropping. He caught his reflection in one
of the storefront windows and fussed with his blond spiky hair.
The months right after the attack
had been hell for everyone. People from all over the world sent support and
offered help. But New York was moving on, as it should. They already had seven
different architects offering new designs to fill the empty skyline. Mayor
Giuliani was doing everything he could for the city, and there was even talk of
him running for president.
Doug checked his flip phone and
picked up his pace. He was running late. He shouldn’t have spent the night at
Tim’s, but leaving such a sexy guy was no easy task. Not to mention they might
have partied too much.
doubt that is even possible. You can never party too much.
There was a large group of
mourners, and he had to step to the side to let them pass. He took a deep
cleansing breath, pushing all thoughts from his mind, and started walking
again. He rushed past the families and friends heading to Ground Zero. Now he
had to hustle to make it to work. He’d gotten lucky no one he was familiar with
was killed. Still, every time he thought about the attack and looked up at the
twin lights filling the night sky, he wanted to cry.
Why President Bush didn’t blow up
the whole of the Middle East after the attack, Doug would never understand.
Instead, the president sent troops to Afghanistan, searching for Osama bin
Laden and taking out Al-Qaeda.
as long as they find and kill the monsters who did this to us.
Doug couldn’t help but stop again
and glance up to where the twin towers once stood. He quickly wiped at his
eyes. “I need to get out of here.” He moved over to the brick façade and leaned
against the wall as more people passed him, heading to the memorial ceremony.
“So much suffering and for what?”
Doug mumbled. He started walking again, taking a deep breath and trying to
avoid the crowds. A woman in a dark jacket passed him and bumped his shoulder,
causing him to step closer to an alley. She didn’t bother saying anything;
however, Doug thought she said something about his size. He caught his
reflection again. He hated how everything made him feel so fat. Nothing he wore
looked right on him. Even the baggy pants still made him look fat and messy. He
would need to start at the gym if he wanted to continue dating Tim and keep up
with his partying. He frowned.
least I have good hair.
He played with the spikes of his
“It’s my fault,” a gruff voice
whispered from behind him.
Doug startled and turned around, but
no one was there. He glanced over to the dumpster.
Sitting there, a raggedy black man,
with kinky hair in desperate need of a cut and wash, stared at him. The man had
the most beautiful green eyes Doug had ever seen. The rich tones of his skin
really made his eyes pop, quite possibly the unkempt man’s best feature. The
man was in shambles, and tears streamed down his dirty cheeks.
anniversary affects everyone.
“I did this,” the man groaned
through his sobs. “And now I’m being punished.”
Doug wasn’t sure what to do or say.
Should he walk away and get to the salon? Leave what appeared to be the crazy
homeless guy alone? Could he do that now that they made eye contact? Could he
do that today of all days? The man needed help. The man needed a shower and clean
clothes. Perhaps, if he talked to him, that would be enough…well, the talk and
what Shannon would do. Talk to him and give him money. Shannon was such a kind
soul, and I need to be more like him, more like he was. To honor him. Just like
my drag name. Maybe Miss Enshannon needs to be more. I need to be more.
Doug’s heart ached at the memories
of Shannon and how wonderful he was. When he picked his drag name there was no
doubt on what it would be, but to honor someone you loved had to be more than
using their name.
“It’s not your fault.” He knelt
close to the man, still keeping his distance just in case. “It was the work of
terrorists. They killed all those people, not you.”
“I should have stopped them. I
should have done more,” the dirty man moaned.
“Oh, baby, no one could have done
more,” Doug offered. Some people thought the government knew about the attack
beforehand and the president allowed it to happen. Doug didn’t buy it. Why
anyone listened to these people was beyond him, but they did. He just wished
they would shut up and crawl back under the rocks they came from. They weren’t
helping anyone, and in the long run, their remarks and comments only hurt
“Now, I’m being punished. They sent
me here and took my wings,” the man whispered.
this guy a pilot? Oh, that would be awful. I bet he was supposed to fly one of
the planes, and he couldn’t take it. Survivor’s guilt.