Wednesday, 12 January 2011


For all the good in the world I could not stop them, those three hurtling graces falling from heaven: burning up, speeding towards the city. Though, they looked quite slow from where I viewed them: far, far away, from the window.

No one knew why the planes had fallen. Terrorists, a pilot suicide pact, I had heard the care workers say as though I wasn’t there - as though my hearing aid was switched off. We watched the window, horrified, quaking, thinking of lives potentially lost. Even those too senile to understand what was going on wailed in their armchairs; had to be calmed.

And then, remarkably, in the sky, three dots too small for planes and too large for birds pelted into the sky, buffeting the falling wrecks and softening their fall. Silence as they floated down. No crashes. No screams. We could not see they had landed but imagined the groove in the concrete as those superhuman dots slowed the plane’s drop to a feather light touch.

The breath we held exuded itself in whoops, cheers and cries of adulation. Care workers hugged us (we must not smell as badly of oldness and prunes as one girl had once complained), hugged each other. In the midst of all these celebrations, Agatha leaned over and said to me,

“Remember when we used to do that?”

“Yes,” I said, “and remember the costumes! Imagine the friction burn they’re suffering now. Imagine the wedgies.

We laughed and awaited the celebratory cups of tea.

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