Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Stepping to the Window

Whenever 9/11 rolls around it always seems trivial to talk about anything other than What Happened.

(If you are easily stressed or shocked you’ll probably want to stop reading and move on right now.)

So often, when I see pictures relating to What Happened I think about the people at the windows…and their two choices.

We all have choices to make in life; jobs, companions, habits, diets, attitudes…all kinds of choices that define the type of life we have.

We rarely have a choice that determines the type of death we’ll experience.

The choice we rarely have to make was this: Until about an hour ago you were in your office or your cubicle. You were annoyed that your stapler was out of staples. You had to choose whether you’d have more sugar with your coffee (because you know it’s not really good for you) or whether or not to say something about that dope in the next office who sounds like he’s yelling into his phone.

But, not now.

Now your office is an inferno. The fire is like something alive—which it is—and it is a monster consuming everything it touches. Your desk is in flames. You can see it across the hall and you can see those cute little pictures of your kids, the ones you made a few weeks ago at the Outer Banks, those shots are already cracked and burned. And that award you won last spring at the annual banquet, the brass is reflecting the orange/red flames leaping in front of it.

You can feel the heat of the fire. And it’s rapidly getting hotter…and you know the monster is coming for you….and you know the choice is coming.

So you put your foot on the window sill. You’re sixty floors up and the windows are made so that they don’t open like they might if you were a few floors up in an older building. Someone threw a couch through the window and there’s broken glass around the edge. There’s a bit of blood on one of the edges…you know how it got there but you don’t want to think about it.

The wind is howling by the window with a sound that reminds you of a dragon’s roar…another monster…one inside and one outside. It’s as if stepping up and into the window is like stepping into the mouth of the dragon.

You look out the window and see a snapshot of some of The City. You see TV and police helicopters circling. It seems that some of the cameras pointing out of the sides of the TV choppers are pointed right at you. You wonder if those happy children whose photos are already smoke and cinders will see you on the news tonight.

And you look back into the room and the fire is getting closer and the choice is almost at hand.

The monster inside or the monster outside.

That’s really the choice, isn’t it? let the monster inside consume you or to step into the dragon’s mouth.

And then you realize there might be another choice…to see if you can fly.

Fire or fly.

Looking at it that way changes the choice, doesn’t it?

Time is getting short.

You knew someone else made the choice when you saw the bit of blood on the glass at the edge of the window. Maybe they flew.

You put your hands on the edge of the window and glass nicks the meaty part of your hand.

You step out onto the ledge.

The blue sky seems so welcoming.

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