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Ten-Thousand Flowers This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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Pure shock. Fear-gripped expressions, mouths agape, eyes full of devastation. A piercing silence slices the air. A baby's insistent wail fills the sanitary hospital walls. It's the type of cry which when heard on an airplane simultaneously evokes sympathy and annoyance. The one that makes the new parents rush to hug and comfort and the same that makes the weary businessman cringe or that hip youngster stuff his headphones on. Ironically, airplanes were on everyone's mind at the moment. All heads were turned towards various television sets, each screen replaying a single scene of terror and destruction. Big block letters spelled BREAKING NEWS, screens flashed sporadic red and black. People running in different directions amongst falling debris, smoke and dust filled air. Clusters of people huddled together, helping or comforting some injured, someone frantic. While this commotion turned to chaos, I was much too young to comprehend the effects of the crisis.

In my world, all energy was focused on the new baby that would soon be a part of my life and my family. I was a balloon bursting with expectant merriment and couldn’t wait to go back to day care and haughtily brag about our special new addition.

"Papa, why are they sad?" I inquired, as I wrapped my arms around his welcoming neck, my dark three-year-old curls bounced with a verve that contradicted the anguish-filled air of the hospital's dull waiting room. I couldn’t possibly understand why anyone would have a case of the blues on a perfectly peachy day like this.

"There has been a serious attack and these people are grieving for all the losses." my father said, speaking to me like I was a grown up.

"English please." My attitude was a bit too fiery for my age.

With an exhausted sigh, my dad explained how a plane had just crashed into the World Trade Center Towers in New York, and many people were trapped, hurt or worse. Of course, his “kid-friendly” explanation excluded all the devastating details as the brutality of the truth would, without a doubt, drown a child. Even my father's modified description couldn’t cloud my ebullience. The fact that I was to become a big sister overwhelmed me as I leap-frogged over purple cushions in the waiting room.

"Please," my father begged, "calm down and read a book Kit Kat.” I loved when he called me that. “You can't be so jumpy at a time like this."

"But Papa, aren't you super excited? We're going to have a bigger family!" I practically yelled.

He silenced me and I sat there with one of those typical toddler tantrum faces, my arms crossed in defiance, brows furrowed. I wondered why my father wasn't filled with total enthusiasm, and retreated to thinking about what my grandpa had said earlier that morning. He had been so excited at the likelihood that my baby brother’s birthday would match my grandma’s birthday in India time if he was born after noon here in the US. He said it would be so auspicious. Grandpa explained how this new life meant new beginnings, how it would bring our family closer if the birthdays matched. I then forgave my father, although I still did not quite comprehend his dour mood. I cuddled up with him, and lingered close the rest of the morning. I was engrossed in thoughts about how my mother was feeling and how cute my little baby brother would turn out to be as the evening turned to darkness, fast as a rocket. The stillness sucked me in and I fell into a deep sleep. 

In what felt like an instant, it was the next morning and my dad was gently shaking me awake.  My eyes widened with anticipation as we zipped to my mom's hospital room and shakily opened the door, pointlessly trying to contain our joy. My mom smiled cheerfully and extended her arms to hug me, but was not as ecstatic as I expected her to be. I thought it must have something to do with the New York events my dad had mentioned. My brother had been born on the night of the eleventh. Baby Shaan was sleeping blissfully, his pink hands folded up next to his tiny face. I felt safe, forgetting all about the previous morning’s agitation.

My brother turned out to be a supremely peaceful, smiling baby. Every few months, and especially around his birthday, mom and dad would talk to us about how my brother and I make this world a better place. I was happy to be the big sister of someone who reminded our family that for everything negative there is a double helping of positive. Now, at fourteen, I understand that two significant events which happened within the same day will always have to coexist. I have such a personal, genuine relationship with the yin and yang of life; the joy and sorrow are both real, both true. On every September eleventh, my family and I feel a deep empathy with those who experienced pain, and great gratitude to have my brother who we love so dearly. While tragedy unfolded, life continued, flowers bloomed. Ten thousand children were born on that September day, and those children give us the reason to go on. From this, I am assured that there will always be bright, shining diamonds in every charcoal sky.




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KlammytThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Dec. 15, 2012 at 11:49 pm:
Hey! You know me <3 :) so... your writing uses sophisticated language and stuff... first time i've seen that ;P hey people, this is my best friend's work, so I can say stuff like this. you, however, cannot. What does the "h" at the beginning have to do with anything? I'm confuzzled... But good job! :) :)
 
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