Tag Archives: Oskar Schell

Incredibly Close, Too Close…

The other day I realized there is still something buried deep inside my psychic that hasn’t gone away.movie1_

I don’t recall what day it was, but  I just happen to catch a few minutes of a movie that came out in 2011, “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.” As I watched, I realized that the character Tom Hanks played, Thomas Schell, dies in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centers. I was fine watching the movie up until a certain scene, then I had to stop.

Oskar, Thomas’s son, comes home from school after they are let out early due to the attacks. The door man tells him that his father had a meeting and is not home yet. When Oskar gets inside the apartment, he realizes both his parents are not home.  However, there is a message on the answering machine, which is the voice of Oskar’s father. I listened as Thomas tells Oskar that he is still at the meeting and that they are telling everyone there to stay where they are, that everything would be alright.

For some reason, something inside of me clicked and I felt nauseous; I couldn’t watch anymore of the movie.

I don’t know if it was hearing the voice of the boy’s father on the answering machine that brought back the pain of scenes from that day so long ago or not. I had heard documentaries where they replayed voices of victims of the attacks making final desperate calls to loved ones. For some reason, the scene of the young boy approaching the answering machine in the home, untouched by the world outside, with the voice of someone who was trying to reassure them that everything was fine seemed to strike a chord. I know that in the end, the title of the movie must have played out in his message when he surely would have described what was happening around him as, “Extremely loud and incredibly close.” I can only imagine what hell the people that died in those towers that day must have gone through.

I once stood as many people have doen,  on the upper deck of one of the two towers, several years before 9/11. Asmovie3_ I stood overlooking the skyline of New York City on a surprisingly clear day, I saw in the distance a small private plane flying by. For some reason the thought occurred to me, “What would I do if a plane ran into the building?” I stood there trying to envision the hell that might ensue. “Would there be a way to escape down the building through flames, or would they just air lift us off the roof,” were some of the thoughts that passed in that moment. I momentarily felt a chill go up my spine for that was something that was unthinkable.  I felt ashamed for thinking such thoughts and just let it go, not telling anyone.  The year was 1996.

Five years later, I was sitting holding my daughter in my arms; gently movie2_rocking her while I gave her a bottle of formula. I had just come home from working the nightshift and the T.V. was airing the morning news. I planned to go to bed for the day after Mary finished her bottle, when suddenly the news broke in with the scene of one of the towers already smoking. The rest of the morning was a blur, other than finally seeing both towers collapse, something I will never forget.

I guess, deep inside, we were all changed that day; no matter how much we want to admit it. I know there is a part of me, a thread of life that can be tugged in such a way that it becomes almost unbearable.  9/11 is one of my threads.

Is it yours?

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