Author: samanddianefan10 PM
It's September 11 and Marilyn has never felt so alone. She finds strength and courage in the most unexpected of placesRated: Fiction T - English - Hurt/Comfort/Crime - Words: 1,167 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 1 - Published: 02-13-13 - Status: Complete - id: 3100656
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N the title of this story comes from the Bruce Springsteen story of the same title.
She waited for the phone call, a call that would never come. All day she sat glued to the television set, cradling her baby girl in her arms, praying for a call, just one phone call. Marilyn had searched the house, searched his jacket pockets and his desk, looking for his cell phone desperately hoping that he'd forgotten it that day. This wasn't happening. It couldn't be. He had a baby girl at home for crying out loud.
Sometimes she wanted to turn off the television, but she was afraid to. Maybe there would be an update, a list of survivors, a photo of Dale, a glimpse of him on the streets of New York. But alas, that was not meant to be.
She stayed up all night long, long past putting Carrie to bed, but couldn't stay away from the television. The television was only a few feet from the telephone, so in her mind, she couldn't walk away, not then. There had been calls, just calls from friends and family members offering support. But she wanted to be alone. She needed to be alone with Carrie, praying to a God she wasn't sure existed anymore, not after that terrible morning. So she prayed, she hoped, she laughed, she cried. So many emotions captured her very being that day, and she wasn't sure how long she could last like this. Sleep had to come at some point, but not during the crucial first 24 hours. Certainly she'd know something by then.
At one point she opened the window, but a dust of cloudy smoke entered into the room, causing the smoke detectors to go off, scaring one month old Carrie to pieces. So she grabbed a broom, after shutting the windows, and desperately beat the detector to within an inch of its total destruction. It felt good to release some of her frustrations.
Marilyn picked up a picture of her husband at the hospital holding baby Carrie. They were all in in it, her mother had taken the photo. Everyone was smiling. It was a good day, the total opposite of this one.
So many hopes and dreams were built in August of 2001, but now, a year later, those dreams and hopes and plans were destroyed, for no good reason. Who could hate Dale? He'd done nothing wrong, nothing but try to take care of his family. He'd always been a good provider. That was one of the things she loved about him. Dale had always been ambitious and knew exactly what he wanted to do with his life. They'd moved to New York from Boston after he'd graduated from Harvard, at the top of his class. He'd always had a head for numbers.
But look how well that served him. He picked that day to return to work, after taking a month off to be with baby Carrie. In life they say that timing is everything, and apparently, his was off. He'd been so excited, so ready to go back to work. He loved his family but there was something about crunching numbers that excited him, that provided him with a passion for life that even Marilyn and Carrie couldn't. Never before had she held that against him, not until today.
There had to be some mistake, He couldn't be missing. She saw jumpers, and the sight of those made her sick. It was too hard to fathom that one of the jumpers could have been her own husband. But what were his alternatives? Getting sick as even morning sickness hadn't done to her, she fell beside the toilet, praying to get whatever it was out of her system so she could go back to watching the news.
Then the stations went dark. Not even the home shopping network aired their usual peddling of crap, crap in which she herself had indulged in from time to time. Dale would just smile and tell her she looked pretty, which was all the reaction she'd been hoping for.
Finally her mother came over to watch Carrie. Marilyn printed up at least a hundred pictures of Dale and went downtown and posted them everywhere, at least as close to downtown as she could get. Looking at all the hundreds, nay thousands of photos everywhere, she suddenly felt alone in a crowd. It dawned on her at that moment that this was bigger than her and Dale and Carrie. So many families were in the same predicament she was in, and it was only growing worse by the day.
Missing. So many names, so many photos. In every photo the person was smiling, blissfully unaware of their fate. After fastening the last photocopy of Dale's photo that she had, she didn't know what to do. Not wanting to go home, not wanting to be away from Carrie, Marilyn was at a crossroad. If she wasn't home when he got there, he might go looking for her, making things worse. But if she went home and he wasn't there, well, she was pretty sure of what that would mean.
She found a little church, and she let herself in. There were hundreds of other families there, all praying for their loved ones. Suddenly Marilyn felt so small and insignificant. But still, she held her head down and prayed, not sure of what she should be thinking or feeling. But the stranger next to her sensed her uncertainty and took her hand. The next thing Marilyn knew there was a chain of strangers, all holding hands, and for the first time in days she felt something strange...she felt hope. Not hope for Dale...he was gone, she was sure of that. But she felt hope in humanity, hope for her country. Together they would get through this. She wasn't alone. And in some small way she had finally found something to smile about.
Marilyn looked around. She saw a small kid holding his mom's hand. He was wearing an oversize policeman's jacket and hat that under normal circumstances would have looked kind of funny. But it was touching. Marilyn excused herself and approached the family.
"I don't know if I should say anything..."
The two looked at her curiously.
"But I just feel like he would be proud of you. That's all I have to say."
With tears in her eyes, Marilyn headed out of the church and went back to her home where she belonged. He was still missing, but would always be missed. But she had to go on. Where she would find the strength, she didn't know. But he would want her to stay strong. What other choice did she have? She could let them win and take away everything she had, or she could cling tight to her family and take comfort in what she did have. He was missing, but he would never be forgotten. Never.