WhiteWalls ss_blog_claim=0715ad90bc7bfcde32c3d390e1f6ea2d Just A Thought: Say the Words: I Love You

Friday, July 11, 2008

Say the Words: I Love You

I have lived in New York City my entire life (well the majority of my life). I thought that I had it all! I never would have imagined living anywhere else. Now I live in Maryland. What events brought me here? 9/11.

I lived in New York (well Staten Island) up until 2006. But, 9/11 really changed it all. Before then Manhattan was a busy place that had this essence, that just made you want to be there. I have to admit that once I turned 18, all I wanted to do was get a job in Manhattan for the simple fact that it was New York City! The smell, the feel, the idea that New York brought was.......well, there are no words. I mean there is nothing in this world that beats New York City in the fall. It just has this wonderful crisp smell to it.....well at least outside of the subways :o). There was also this feeling about living in Manhattan during the fall, it was crisp; upbeat; fast paced....just plain THRILLING. [Sidebar: I hate Spring and Summer so we just wont talk about those seasons and smells that came along with them...if ya know what I mean] New York City in the winter......almost inexplicable! Same crisp feeling as fall, but better because New York City knows how to do Christmas! Christmas in New York is something that everyone, and I mean everyone, needs to experience. It's absolutely beautiful. And to this day, I will always visit because that is apart of me. New York City never leaves you.......whatever your experience is. It truly is a memorable place. Boy do I love New York.

But then, that day happened. And as everyone knows it effected everyone. I lost two friends that day, could have lost my parents (if they weren't early to work.....). That changed everything for me. I was Pre-Med at a local Staten Island college. I was going places. Then when that day happened, I couldn't bare to say goodbye to my parents as they went to work everyday. I had to say I love you to those I loved, as they were leaving the house (even if they were going to the corner deli) - I still do that to this day. But all Americans went about their lives. Almost seeming to forget about it. But those of us who lived in the 5 suburbs of New York City never really forgot. It was everywhere......signs on cars stating who they lost that day, people you met everyday, American flags everywhere (literally on anything in some cases).

But, it was livable. Then....oh, then started the harassing of anyone who even remotely seemed Arab. I went to pump gas at a station that was run by an Indian man. He was so nice and sweet (well to me at least), but on this day he had this look on his face. It was a heart wrenching look, it seemed as though someone just ripped his heart out and stomped on it over and over. And during that time (the 2 years following the attacks), it was not abnormal to see that look on people's faces. But not this time, no at this time there were these two idiots who had parked their car in the station's parking lot and were hurling insults and threats at him. Telling him, that "we don't want your kind here; go back home Ahmed!" Stupid things like that. I just wanted to run over and give those knuckleheads a slap in the face. All I wanted to yell was HELLO!!! HE'S A HUMAN BEING!!! Now, who knows he may have been.......I don't know, but what I do know is that no one, NO ONE should be humiliated like that. Unless, they are horrible..........no, that's topic for another blog. That was the only viewing of hate that I saw, but I knew it was there. Everyone did.

You could "go on", but not really.....you see in every public transportation area, in Manhattan, was always filled with some sort of army presence. On the Staten Island ferry, there was National Guards with machine guns taking the boat ride with you. There would be times when there would be a National Guard boat travelling along side the ferry. They would be looking at every olive skinned person with suspicion, with distaste even (just being observational not saying that its true). I remember one time going home on the Staten Island ferry during the dead of summer, and there was this man on the ferry with this huge, thick parka. The fear that shot through me, oh I will never forget it. Turns out that the man was just an insane homeless person, but still it's not a place I would live in anymore. I want to be able to live without the thought: I wonder if my husband was coming home today alive or not. Wondering if my kids would be able to play outside. I didn't want to wake up one morning to have the threat level raised (again) and travel to work with National Guards and their machine guns.

I moved to Maryland and I don't have as many fears. In fact, I don't have any....okay maybe a couple but that's only my husband has a tendency to drive a little crazy. People here are so laid back, I don't think I will ever get used to that. [Sidebar: I am not delusional, I know I have to be cautious everywhere, but I don't have the same intense in-your-face-worries as New Yorkers, and if you hadn't guess yet...I am a huge worrier - it's getting better but...]

But the only problem I have living outside of New York City is that people just seemed to say: "9/11...what's that? That happened long ago, you really should get over that." And you know what? They are right, we do have to move on. But we should never forget.

Never Forget 9/11.


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