Survivorship

by

02/23/2008

Williamsburg, 11211

Neighborhood: Brooklyn, Williamsburg

I went out with my friend Dylan last night. We met in 2003 on the internet. Tried dating, but were better friends than anything. He was the first person I met when I moved back to New York and looking to date. I had left because my husband was killed in the World Trade Center.

Dylan and I went out three times the first week we met. We had a deep chemistry and a bond which I wouldn’t understand until much later. On our second date we were hiking when he told me he used to work in the Trade Center. My heart stopped. “Were you there?” I asked. “Yes,” he said. “I was on the 83rd floor.” I asked him question after question, without giving away my own story. I asked him when he thought he would die. And what it was like to walk down in the darkness. Question after question.

He answered them all. I felt relief somehow hearing him talk about surviving. Later that day I told him about my husband. Dylan said the questions I asked were not like ones anyone had ever asked him before.

Last night for some reason we were talking about 9/11 again. We don’t often. I got really frustrated because I felt like Dylan has this huge disconnect with it. He hasn’t dealt with it at all. Like he doesn’t think it meant anything to him. His life doesn’t seem very important to him. I get that it wasn’t a big deal whether he lived or died, but to smell burning flesh, and be around so many dead people, I have to think that he is disassociating from reality.

We talked about that too. He asked me if I tell people when I meet them about my husband. I said sometimes. I don’t want to. I never lie. If someone asks, I will be open. It comes up more for me than for Dylan. I was in a twelve year relationship so when a new man asks my history sometimes it’s hard to get out of it. For Dylan it’s much easier. he thinks what happened to him is so much less than what happened to me. And that too makes me sad. Because one can’t compare. I lost my soul mate. I have demons dancing in my head. But Dylan, he lived through something I can’t even imagine.

Erika is a professional chef and writer living in Brooklyn with her cat and various thoughts–she is obsessed with Oscar Wilde at the moment.

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