Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 1267
Character(s): Jimmy Palmer
Category(ies): Character Study
Pairing(s): - No Pairing -
Summary: A normal day suddenly changes as a young man finally figures out the meaning of a century old poem thanks to a horrifying act that changed the course of a nation.
Author Notes: The text mentioned in the story is De Profundis, written by Oscar Wilde during his prision stay for two years.
In honor of those who died, those who sacrificed everything and those who had to fight to survive after the attack.
You will not be forgotten.
It was a beautiful morning with bright blue skies and very few clouds over New Jersey
It was a beautiful morning with bright blue skies and very few clouds over New Jersey. There was nothing special about that day, it was only a normal Tuesday in which James Palmer had to stand up, brush his teeth and venture out of the house to face another hellish day in high school where he was going to be bullied, mocked and humiliated as always. He wasn’t particularly excited with the prospect of facing Larry Higgins, the quarterback who had promised to break his glasses and stuff its parts where the sun doesn’t shine in Jimmy’s reed thin body.
His bus was scheduled to drive by in ten minutes, so he hurried to fix his shirt inside his trousers and tried to fix his slick black curly hair down which stubbornly refused to stay put. He finally gave up and sighed at the image he found in the mirror, huge blue eyes surrounded by thick sunglasses in frames which had seen better days probably around the time of the Bush Senior’s administration.
He ingested in a hurry his muffin and grabbed an orange juice cup, which he drained in seconds. He kissed his mom’s hair and ran to the corner of his block, arriving at the bus stop just when the bus turned entered his street.
He waited for the door to open, greeted old Brian the bus driver since he was a little boy with a grin. Sitting down on his usual chair, he said hi to Mike, his best friend and they immediately started planning what they would do after school in their science project. They reached the school and immediately went to their rooms, aware that they had to rush before being picked by Larry and his gang.
First sign rang and they went to class, where Miss Pennington handed out some sheets and ordered everyone to read it for a couple of minutes before she requested a fast explanation of the poem.
Jimmy left a sigh out as he saw that Miss Pennington had given him a small text by Oscar Wilde’s poem, named De Profundis. He read the little biography and the story of the text, and started reading the small paragraphs trying to figure out why a man would write about such suffering and pain. What would drive someone to write something so sad?
“… Suffering is one very long moment. We cannot divide it by seasons. We can only record its moods and chronicle their return. Whit us time itself does not progress. It revolves. It seems to circle round one centre of pain.”
It went on and on about pain and suffering and it made Jimmy feel sick, imagining the horror and pain that Wilde was trying to describe. It must be something peculiar of his time, his era. Such suffering doesn’t happen anymore, we had just survived the bogus Millennium bug, the world didn’t end in a messy computer bug. We’re in the Twentieth First century for Christ’s sake.
“Mr. Palmer, would you like to start?” Miss Pennington called his name, and everyone looked at him which prompted a dark red blush cover his neck and cheeks. He gulped and slowly stood up, walking towards the front of the class and turned to look at all his forty three colleagues.
He bit his lower lip and looked down to the sheet of paper in his hands, and started to read the poem, each word burning in his mind thanks to the pain hidden between the lines.
“The thing that you personally have long ago forgotten, or can easily forget, is happening to me now, and will happen to me again tomorrow. Remember this, and you will be able to understand a little of why I am writing, and in this manner writing…”
He looked up and to his class and saw a stricken look on their faces, and he was surprised to find his cheeks wet. He had no idea why he was crying. He opened his mouth to say something but at that time the door slammed open, and Ivette rushed into the room with tears on her eyes, a shocked expression on her face.
She tried to speak but words would not come, she was sobbing and trying to speak at the same time but she simply couldn’t.
Miss Pennington ran to her side and took her hand, trying to urge her to explain her distress. The girl, Ivette, the headmaster’s daughter who happened to be in my class, shook her head and looked at me, and finally her ability to speak came back.
“The Towers… an airplane has just hit the Towers.”
“What Towers? What are you talking about?” At that time, Miss Pennington’s voice had taken an urgent tone, but the terrified look in Ivette’s eyes would haunt Jimmy for the next years yet to come.
“The World Trade Center. An airplane have just hit the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. My dad works there in the South Tower and… he called my mom… he wanted to talk to her and…” After that, Ivette said no more, just cried and cried.
After that, most of the kids in his class started crying, as panic filled them and they thought about friends who were in Manhattan. There was a disorganized chaos as those with parents working in New York ran out the class. Soon there were several students standing in the main football field, where they could look to the direction where they knew Manhattan Island were. All they could see was billowing cloud of smoke coming out of where the skyline of Manhattan once was.
They stood there as the second airplane hit the South Tower.
They watched horrified as the South Tower collapsed.
They cried and screamed as the second tower collapsed too.
Some children fell on their knees and cried, others just stood there, terrified of what that could mean. Of those who had died. Of those who would have to live with the consequences of what had just happened before their eyes.
Jimmy felt his heart dropping to his feet, his gaze watery as tears insisted to wet his cheeks.
School had lost its meaning as people hugged each other and cried, their voices mingling as one big noise which filled his ears.
He looked around and saw Miss Pennington standing with other teachers. He distractedly noticed that there was a sheet of paper in his hand. He hiccupped as the words danced before his eyes.
It was hard for him to process what was happening around him, but the over one hundred year old words haunted his mind, finally the gripping pain that filled the author making sense to his young impressionable mind.
“What I suffered then, and still suffer, is not for pen to write or paper to record.”
He closed his eyes and tried to control the shaking, but the words were still there. The screaming around him was still there.
“For us there is only one season, the season of sorrow. The very sun and moon seem taken from us.”
He lifted his eyes and looked to the gray clouds and he knew that their season of sorrow had just begun.