fifteen years

by Kristen

A glint in the sky catches my eye. I track it as it makes a long arcing turn and prepares for its final descent.

Fifteen years ago the skies were empty. Fifteen years ago the whole country was grounded though the foundation had been ripped from beneath our feet.

Fifteen years ago my eyes scanned the plane-less sky and struggled to understand how quickly life had changed. Today planes are in the sky, but I feel the same restless bewilderment.

A bag of groceries sits on the seat beside me as I drive. Feeding those I love lets me feel useful in my helplessness. I watch the plane until it dips out of sight. I pull into the driveway and unload the groceries. I head to the kitchen to chop and mix, to sauté, to layer and bake.

Fifteen years ago everything changed . . . and nothing changed. Fifteen years ago we recoiled at humanity’s hatred, but the venom burns through us as hotly as ever.

We forget because it hurts to remember. We remember because it hurts to forget.

Fifteen years. And counting.