Here’s a passage from my novel, Crystal From The Hills, about an accident, a trauma, a disappearance, and a mystery.
Chris’ parents, not long before Eric’s death, actually had one more shot at reconciliation—a brief one in late 2001, under tragic, yet bizarre circumstances. Nancy’s then husband and former lover was a financier in Manhattan, and died, it was later presumed, in the 9/11 attacks. It took several days for this conclusion to hit home. Initially, Nancy held out hope like countless others, thinking or rather assuming at first, and then later praying, that her husband’s failure to respond to calls following the breaking news would be easily explained. The phone service told a cold, disinterested story: “That caller cannot be reached at this time.” It persisted with that message, like an aphorism of cosmic loneliness. Eventually, that message gave way to the more earnestly sepulchral, “That number is no longer in service.” She spoke to Chris on that terrible day, as well as many others. Their call was cut off—twice—as others, friends mostly, desperately tried to get through. Chris was understanding, but struggled nonetheless with the implication of relegated status. Frantically, Nancy would put him on hold, and promise a return call in minutes. An hour passed, followed by another interruption—this time his mother apologized, sensing for the first time that she was indulging herself at the expense of her son. Then two days passed without hearing anything new. Nancy had made arrangements with friends to take a pilgrimage to what was already being dubbed “ground zero”, to walk around with a photo in hand, and to pin copies along with flyers upon temporarily erected bulletin boards.