Pain has an element of blank;
It cannot recollect
When it began, or if there was
A time when it was not.
It has no future but itself,
Its infinite realms contain
Its past, enlightened to perceive
New periods of pain.
- Emily Dickinson (source)
After having major surgery, the above perfectly describes the last 10 days.
Well, it is that time of year again, the time when everybody thinks back to that fateful September day five years ago when all hell broke loose.
As usual, I was probably one of the last people to know. I had been working from home that day, buried in ridiculous deadlines, and since I do not watch much television and have always had a real aversion to news, I had not heard anything about it. That night, I headed out to my usual haunt to unwind, a neighbourhood resto-bar that I spent way too much time in, not to mention money. As I sat down at the bar, I noticed how quiet everyone was. There was no friendly chatter, no lame sexist remarks from the usual cast of characters, no “lets see who can get drunk the fastest”, no laughing, no yelling at the waitress. Only a palpable feeling of shock in the air as everybody just kind of stared vacantly at the television bolted to the ceiling in the corner over an old freezer where they kept the ice cream. The television kept running the same images over and over again but the sound was turned off so it still meant nothing to me.
At one point, I asked the owner what was going on, why everyone looked so “décrissé“. He looked at me like I had antennas growing out of my forehead and said with a hint of disbelief “What ?? You did not hear about the terrorist attacks ?! They blew up the World Trade Center and the Pentagon…” For a few seconds, I thought he was kidding; he always liked to joke around though he rarely managed to be funny. But I soon realised he was dead serious. I finished my drink quickly and headed home, turned on the television and spent the rest of the night sitting there, just soaking it all in, trying to understand why anyone would do something like that. But regardless of the explanations that followed over the next days, weeks, months, the rationalisations, the finger-pointing, the lies and half truths, there is no real answer to why bipeds hurt each other. We just do.