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ONE WOMAN, TWO TOWERS Sample

                      I step out onto Vesey and Broadway as                       the sun sets to my left and a light                         layer of mist coats the air,                               replacing the tardy first snowfall of                       the year. I could've immediately                           taken the subway uptown to my                               friend's apartment, but the prospect                       of fresh New York air on a Friday                           night is too enticing to pass up.

Nearly the whole of Manhattan extends north before me behind a misty gray curtain of fog and skyscrapers. The new World Trade Center surveys the scene by my side, and though I know it’s taller than it appears, the spire is hidden by a heavy layer of clouds. Like those who died there, it disappears into the heavens, unseen but still tethered to this earth, girded by steel and memories.

I begin the walk north up West Broadway, the better known Broadway's bastard brother. My first memory of New York is walking with my dad up the latter to Times Square, amazed that something so loud and dirty could be so big and bright. The horns honked and the poor begged, and I trembled at the magnitude of an earthquake that mixed the silver of the buildings with the soot on the sidewalks into a hypnotic potion, a drink that addicted me forever to its insatiable existence.

It was a year after that I watched on a rabbit-eared TV from sixth grade English class as asphyxiated innocents jumped and the towers fell. The tears I shed were antidote to that potion, as their salty sting gave tactile sensation to the steel forever twisted in my eyes and heart.

People my age began an early adolescence that day, the decade hence as turbulent as the decade prior was peaceful. I think it's helped that our connection to culture and each other has become so digitized; what better way to remove oneself from an adulthood so stigmatized? The Apple store and wifi'd Starbucks I pass are excuses to type and text instead of listen and talk. It's a strategy that goes back aways, distancing yourself from emotions too raw and harmful lest they make you cry all over again. Texting is our diary, but instead of children of divorce we're children of death and destruction.