My friend Leslie, who lives six blocks away, felt her apartment shake with the boom. We had dinner last night because she was still feel shaky, reliving the emotions that rocked her after 9/11. When you live alone, she explained, these things slide more deeply inside you, because there is no one around you to show you that life is continuing on. You might as well be alone on the planet.
I cannot fathom people just going about their day, an ordinary morning just like any other, and then their whole world is in rubble around them. It was a gas main explosion apparently, and the people in one building had been complaining of smelling gas for weeks, and there were apparently no carbon monoxide detectors in the apartments. Compounding the hell was a sinkhole that opened up beneath the concrete and steel debris, so that heavy vehicles and rescue machinery couldn't be brought in. The rooftops of surrounding buildings were covered with firefighters, the streets still filled with EMT uniforms. Overnight, new flares bloomed as the remaining fuel from the leak burned off. Today, the recovery and clean-up continues. My son isn't there with them. Not yet.