Wednesday, February 4, 2009

(part 130) GROUND ZERO

I remember the wind suddenly changing directions as I fell through space to the roof below. Now free from my steel perch, I was transformed into dead weight, racing downward through the air.

In mid flight I remember thinking, "I should be on the roof by now," but I was not. The fact that I had time to think of this was signal enough that my judgement of the distance had been way off.

As I flapped my arms, trying to slow my descent and right myself, the angle of my trajectory veered slightly to the left. I hit the roof like a sack of concrete, landing on my left foot first, followed quickly by my right foot with slightly less impact.

My body crumpled like paper against the flat hard surface of the roof, slamming my mouth shut with such force it fractured a number of teeth and nearly knocked me out. I lay there in a heap for a moment, dazed and unsure of my condition. I was quickly surrounded by fire rescue as I crawled to a wall to lean against.

I couldn't speak at first, because the impact of the landing had completely knocked the wind out of me. I also distinctly remember, at the time, being aware of the complete lack of any pain whatsoever. Other than feeling I'd had the crap kicked out of me, I thought I was OK, because there was no pain.

I leaned back against a retaining wall, and a fireman cut the leg of my leather pants with a large pair of shears, looking for damage. "Hey man!" I managed to say, pushing my hand at him, "Those are expensive pants." He looked at me like I was nuts, which I was, and pulled back his shears, shaking his head in amazement.

I fought to gather my senses, while the bulk of the roof area deteriorated into a madhouse. I don't have any clear recollection of what took place up there after that, other than what I have told you, so the actual facts of that time period are a blank.

The next thing I do remember, was lying on my bed in the small room I had rented for a week, prior to climbing the tower. I think it was on Cherokee Ave. in Hollywood, a few blocks from the Pacific Theater. I had about 3 days left on the rent, and then I'd be out on the street again.

As promised by Dr. Ferguson, I was not arrested, or taken anywhere by anyone, which in itself is remarkable. I have no memory of how I got from the scene on the roof to the tiny room I was now in. I do remember watching myself on the news all afternoon, on a small portable black and white TV, and being amazed by the amount of coverage the whole thing received.

I watched it over and over, as they showed me on the tower at different stages. I remember those pictures vividly, and in particular, the look on my face when I jumped. I laid on that bed for hours, reliving the day and listening to reports, when the pain began to come. Where there had been none, now there was an explosion of pain.

My agony began to mount. I tried moving around and getting into different positions on the bed, but nothing helped. As the misery increased I found it impossible to keep my self quiet, and began moaning into my pillow.

I tried to get off the bed and go ask for help, but found I could not walk or crawl. There was no telephone, so I couldn't call. I had only the sound of my voice or banging on the wall as a means of getting someone's attention.

It had been some 6 hours since I jumped off the tower, and my feet were purple and enlarged from swelling. The left one appeared to be much worse, but they both looked bad. The pain had now become intolerable, and I cried out, begging for help.

With no way to get off the bed, I was stranded there trying to get someone to hear me. It wasn't as if no one knew I was there, the whole building knew what had happened to me. After some time, and because of the increasing volume of sounds coming from my room, there was a knock on my door.

"Hey are you OK in there?" No!" I moaned, "I need help, I need some help." A few minutes later I heard someone at the door again and it opened slightly. A face peered in and asked how I was doing. "Not so good," I sobbed, "I think I gotta go to the hospital, I can't walk."

I broke down at that point crying openly. A very large guy I didn't know, but had seen around the building days before, rushed in saying, "It's OK man, it's OK! We'll get you to the hospital." He reached down and picked me up in his arms and carried me out of the room.

* * *

My body hangs suspended in air. Like a tiny leaf nestled on the wind. I float against the sun and blue of the sky. My eyes see everything and nothing as I linger with infinity. Human forms below stand motionless. Like steel statues pinned to the earth. No sound do I hear. Not a thing do I feel, but peace.

Faces reach out to me with their eyes. Guiding me, caressing me. The world stops in a gasp....breathless and still. "Where Oh Lord is this place?" I mutter....
no answer... The hills stand in awe of the moment. Moaning in unison at the spectacle before them... Birds watch with tears frozen in their eyes....

I drift slightly in the breeze and feel myself lose the air. I grab as it speeds away. The green of the earth shifts on the horizon and I slip into free fall. My mind races against the wind now pelting my face. The black steel of my home whispering as I careen downward.

Gone is the safety of my perch. Gone now my weightless body on the breeze. The human forms below in a frenzy as they jerk themselves awake. "Where is ground zero?"

I feel cold heavy air crashing against me as I race toward the dark bottom. Sadness fills my eyes. The gasp of an illogical conclusion. The calamity of it. The utter necessity of it..... "Why am I here? Why have I come to this?"

My thoughts end as I hit hard against the roof. My legs twist like paperclips beneath the weight of my body. My teeth shatter in my mouth along with my feet inside my boots. I cannot breath. I am alive... I fight to remain conscious. Struggle to gauge the extent of the damage...

Bobby Jameson Mar 25, 2010