Ten Years after 9/11, Tristan is having issues thinking about performing at the anniversary of the 9-11 Attacks. Safe and alone on stage feeling to the world crash down on her shoulders and she ca...
Ten Years Later
Excerpt for Awake and Unafraid
September 11, 2011
I’m standing center stage in a spotlight. Alone on stage in New York City on the morning of September 11, 2011. Somewhere I never thought I would have been ten years ago. But here I am, alone, holding my guitar and a staring straight ahead at an empty venue arena. I told them to leave me alone right now. Ray, Mikey, Frank, and Gerard all are sitting behind stage and waiting for me to return. They know I need this time to myself. They are coming with me tonight to the anniversary. Ten years.
Ten years; long, hard, self destructive, loving, scary, amazing, suicidal, beautiful, heartbreaking, and lonely years have gone by. It’s strange how fast time can go by. In the blink of an eye it seems that my life has gone by with a flash. Ten years of traveling with the band. Ten years of chasing a dream; of chasing my destiny. Ten years of fighting for love; a love that would never get to be. Ten years of holding back all my emotions from those around me. Ten years of trying to understand why things happen that make your life change. Ten years of fighting and getting nowhere. Ten years of standing in the spotlight; of standing center stage and giving others hope. Hope for a better future. Hope for more. Hope for living their lives. Hope for the outsiders.
But where is my hope for a better future? Why am I standing here alone in the dark, aside from the spotlight? I feel like I am fading into the dark. I want to be strong and I have been trying for a long time. My self destructive self has peeked its head outside it’s shell and is trying to control me again.
My long dark hair is pulled up into a messy bun and out of my face. I need to be able to see the empty space in front of me. I pick my guitar strings and begin to strum out the melody to “The World is Ugly” singing it into a microphone. Singing to no one; my emotions getting the better of me. I can’t fight them anymore, so I let go. Tears are streaming down my pale cheeks now.
How am I supposed to stand on that stage tonight and play for all those families of those lost ten years? How am I supposed to do this? I can’t even stand tall and look happy for myself or my band. Can I do this?
I strum harder against the abrasive strings and sing louder into the mic. By this point in the song I am crying harder like I can’t take this anymore. The pain of the memories of the attack and the building falling keep flashing in my mind. Falling into a dark hole and not knowing how or why it happened. Falling with thousands of other souls and me being a lucky one to survive when so many didn’t. The time spent buried in concrete and ash bleeding to death. Seeing Gerard crawl down into the dark with me. His being the last face I saw before I died. The horrible carnage and waste of American lives and the religious reason for the attack. The aftermath and the love that unfolded after with Gerard and then that love falling apart. Falling apart so many times and never being able to hold onto the one thing that ever meant anything to me in this ugly world.
I shred on the guitar with fierce accuracy and passion from all that was flooding my mind. Oh Goddamn, the world is so ugly. I can feel my emotions emerging from my eyes, throat, voice, arms, hands, fingers, and legs. I am in an uncontrollable rage of dancing and singing with my guitar on that stage all alone. No one around to watch. No one around to judge. No one around to take the light from behind my eyes.
Fury and passion of the song is raging through my fingers and I can feel my voice crack when I sing the lyrics, but I persist. I can’t let this moment go to waste. I need this time. I need this song. I need to burn bright just for a moment. Just for a moment, before I perish.