Falling Man

Probably the number one thing that I don't typically want to write about, draw out into the light, or examine closely would be my experiences on September 11, 2001. Specifically, I try and avoid remembering or reliving the moments during which I saw people lose their lives, both through overt, intentional acts, such as jumping from the burning buildings, as well as those who died as the result of their jobs as first responders, such as the firefighter who died when a jumper landed on him, the result of which I witnessed firsthand. That day and the events and moments I witnessed burned an indelible image onto my mind, and while I usually don't reflect upon it very frequently, there are times when the memories force their way into the forefront of my consciousness, sometimes against my wishes, or at inopportune times. I've had moments while watching movies, or having (completely unrelated) conversations, or even during otherwise mundane dreams, where I'm immediately transported back to that day. Sometimes I find myself thinking about the man I watched drop through space, who had jumped from the building to escape the flames. I watched as he fell, backwards through space, in a backwards seated position. His dress pants, white shirt, and black tie were so vivid to me - still are to this day - and I watched, transfixed, as he fell and fell, seemingly endlessly, until he passed out of sight momentarily, followed by a tremendous crash, shockingly loud, akin to the loudest car accident I'd ever heard. I sometimes find myself wondering what was going through his mind, as he fell. Was he thinking about his life? His family? His dreams? Was he scared? I think about the fragility of human life, how susceptible we are to injury or death when large forces beyond our control are at play. It's been 14 years, and I've lived a lot since then, literally had 2 careers, gotten married, lived in several different places, been to numerous countries - all things that have been gifts, because I could so easily have died just as so many others did on that day.