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Wednesday September 11, 2002, 07:17 EST (12:17 BST)

I am not home.

That is to say that I am home now, in the flat, in London, where I live for the time-being, but as I listen to the world around, as I listen to music playing out of the window across the way where workers renovate a flat, where I have been watching walls and windows being installed, I want to call across, demanding to know why they are not silent, silent for me, for my home, today.

I didn't think there was anything here. When I was in Germany, seeing my photos displayed on a wall, speaking about the morning a year ago now, not quite a year ago then, when I spoke of what I felt that morning, what I felt then, looking back at my photos, then I felt sad. I felt chills. I felt all of those things that I am supposed to feel. And as I walked to the tube this morning, as I walked home, I ran it through my mind. There is no feeling, I told myself. Today is like any other day here, here far away from there. Here, where my life is. Here, where I did not stand on the street watching the faces of other New Yorkers, blank, staring at nothing, running through their heads what had happened earlier in the day. Here, where I did not see flags bearing stripes, and stars, hanging from every building, every car, every corner vendor. Here, where the sound of sirens sounds nothing at all like the sounds of sirens running through a quiet city, heading to help those already dead.

And then I heard sirens. I heard sirens coming up the street, saw a fire truck crossing in front of me, and the world fell away, and I was back in my home, back where I long to be, need to be today, and I realize that the only release I have is the television. The same media that I was watching a year ago, after waking up, sitting in my apartment, not turning around to see reality behind me, opting instead for packaged images in a little box. It's safer that way, until you have to go outside, when I went outside, when I brought the media with me in a little box attached to my ears, when I walked through a silent city, when my home was brought to a stop. That's what I watch now, and there is something there.

Everything is there.

I was looking for a photograph. One that I need today. One that is very important to me, that was one of the first photos that I took with my father's camera after I rediscovered it almost a year ago. It is a photograph taken in my neighborhood, across from the K-Mart, just north, on the side of the building, of a large, painted American flag - a symbol the importance of I did not realize fully until this morning when I listened to an English news correspondent describing how "they" treat their flag. I am part of the "they" that he described, and as he described the treatment given to the American flag, the importance placed on this one symbol, my heart swelled with pride. He was talking about my home.

So it's been a year. Where did that year go? I have a new life. Not a replacement for my old life, but an enhancement of my old one. I work as I worked before, but on a new computer. I look out a window as I did before, but a new window, overlooking a new street, in a new city. Tonight I will see a girl I did not know a year ago, and I will tell her that I love her.

And I will think about how good it will be to be home.

Please, tell me what it's like for you today.

downtown.

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