We stood quietly beneath the Twin Towers hiding in their shadows, silhouetted against the glaring lights of the concrete plaza.  The piazza we would call it when we wanted to pretend we lived in Europe.

We held each other, my hands rubbing your chest, your hand caressing my back. Holding on to each other, afraid to break the silence, we groped each other in a hushed stillness.  Moments would pass and my hand would slip around back, still rubbing you, massaging your body, making us both feel warm.

My favorite moment, when you would shoulder your head in the curve of my neck.

“Ah this feeling… how gracious this feeling.”

“So softly, knowing that our love is not to be.”

“I love you, your very deep brown eyes. I even love the roundness of your eyes.”

I still even love the dewy wetness that formed within the roundness of those eyes. Those magical mystical, dark Egyptian eyes….


There she stands reaching out… stretching…. taking her positions…. the camel…. the snake… the cobra…  it never ends…. always the sweating, the reaching… seeking the purity, the truth…. seeking the cleansing….  her weekly yoga class….  seeking a new life….


 The jolt of the image moves her…  jarred by her vision, she sought refuge in the vision outside…. the still life of a green world the highwaymen painted…  a Florida lost long ago…. she could not deny the shockwave of feeling…  she had loved him…. 

The demise of the Twin Towers made her relive this love lost so long ago…  she checked the roll call of names searching the victims….  he worked near the epicenter of destruction Ground Zero…  and he lived in Manhattan… in her mind she rested her weary head on his shoulder…  wishing it would all go away…  just let the world leave them alone… it was not to be… a blue-collar Jewess and an aristocratic Egyptian…..  there was no escape…. she rose from her pretension….


 “Is Diana at home?”

“Yes, yes.”

“Another party?”

“Yes, another party.”

“Do you love me?”

“Oui, oui. Je t’amour toujours.”

He spoke French to calm her, to soothe her, to bear their secret. They sustained the pretension in this manner, preserved the moment, this very brief moment in their lives.

“Can I come to the party?”

He would never laugh. He just would not laugh. It was the saddest thing, he would not laugh about this emotional catastrophe in their lives…  His life predicted by wealth…  fundamentalists class ascension… extremists rebellion…. the Islamic Revolution…..  her life predicted by education, blue-collar Jewish ascension … rebellion… art…. creativity, words, the Cultural Revolution.  He just would not laugh about his work, his very serious work to redesign the subway stations in Manhattan…

“It will be the last time they let an Arab work with these blueprints……”

“Why do you say these things?”

“They don’t understand the nature of things to come…. The fundamentalists are rising… gaining in number… things will change.  Why do you think my family is here, in America?”

“Opportunity, she said stupidly?”

“Because we were aristocrats…. we had to go… you can’t support education and democracy, be rich and survive… we left for our own safety.”

She thought of these words now as she frantically looked for his phone number…. The web….the web… the Internet…. I can look him up on the Internet….

He could not enter her home though she invited him repeatedly.  She could not enter his upper West Side apartment, though he never invited her; that was impossible. His family members were descendants of an extremely wealthy Egyptian ruling class, an aristocrat lineage, and his role was to extend the lineage. He had been bred in the best of schools in England, which of course is where he met his fiancée Diana, bred of the upper crest in London.

“Your family will disown you. Your fiancé of design will melt. She bred of upper crest schools in London, her English crystal glass accent, if she knew about out love.”

“She must never find out….. it would ruin the plans for my life, everything.”

“Destiny.  Knowing that our love is not to be.”


Tina would not take on the seriousness of her life work, her endeavor as an artist was compromised by her wanton habits…. her drug lust… her compulsive natural suspicion of everything and everyone…  even the state of  joy….  her devotion to her artwork cheapened by her critical nature… There was the complete lack of synchronicity in her life … blue-collar Jew… that was her destiny... 

Feeling overwhelmed, despite the rain, she needed a walk.  She wanted to be outside with pure reality.  Writing this morning had been tough, an exercise in function, not creativity.  She grabbed her black raincoat and headed out to the woods.  It was amazing the dynamic of adhering to a black wardrobe throughout the many stages in her life.  She felt it was an identity …. a reminder that she was a New Yorker… she was never more proud of that fact than now… her hometown had born the brunt of the attacks….now she would always wear black…. mourning for lost New Yorkers…


Sometimes we would hold hands in the dark at night walking downtown when it was late and isolated.  It was beautiful then, so silent and beautifully lit, like a movie set. In fact, they had watched the movie making, the shooting of the remake of the classic King Kong.  She saw Kong fallen on the ground, and unlike the multitudes of New Yorkers who wanted to get close and touch him, she cried and ran away.

She felt emotional now every time she went downtown remembering this imagery of the fallen monkey.  The big fallen ape, lost in this world without a footing, yet in love and awed by beauty. It was strong this pull to this particular memory and he made fun of her every night as they hid beneath the shadows of the twin towers hiding from the world.

“The monkey’s gone, he rests toujours.”

“I love these towers.”

“ou love these buildings?”

“How can you love buildings?”

“They protect us.”

“Who protects us??”

“The buildings.”

“They protect us from the world. They separate reality from ever touching us.”

“They are as beautiful as you, mon amour.  Perfection.  America.”

I watched his eyes wander, taking in the magnificent sight of this dark man standing aside these beautiful buildings. To me, he was a wondrous man. I caressed his hips, his arms, letting my hand slide down in his hand. Clutching, choking his fingers, this was the feeling of life… wanting...

We were to be no more.