September 11, 2007

On the anniversary of 9/11: One hour, three conversations (excerpts)

  • 2:15 PM — Today, after seeing my periodontist and before leaving her office, I conversed casually with her assistant, who suddenly blurted out: I am 44 and my father abused me until I was seven. I have forgiven him and my mother for allowing it because today I know he was a sick person.
  • 3:00 PM — On my way home, waiting at the subway station platform for a train to the bus depot, I chatted with a fellow passenger. When our friendly conversation turned to religion, she announced: Oh, you are Jewish? All Jews are rich.

  • 3:15 PM — Waiting for my connecting bus at the depot, I picked up a longstanding conversation with the station master. On his six children, he began: My eldest is a sniper in Baghdad. When he left for Iraq, 24 months ago, I told him, 'I wish I could go in your place. Just obey orders and concentrate on protecting your buddy to your right and your buddy to your left.'
During each conversation, I wondered, What is this person really telling me? And later, I pondered, How is each person connected to me and to the others?

3 comments:

QUASAR9 said...

And ...
what was the answer?

Tamar Orvell said...

quasar9 — Thank you for your question! Not easy to answer. Via email, my friend Shimon suggests: I often think of you as a container to other people's ideas and feelings, so it only makes sense to me that so many people share their feelings and thoughts with you. (If Shimon says so, he must be right;-) I also think that each person really is saying: Connect, only connect. Listen, only listen. And I think this universal call underscores the commonalities that link us.

Madeline said...

And you, my new friend, are particularly good at both connecting and listening.