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One Tuesday Morning/Beyond Tuesday Morning
By Karen Kingsbury
ZondervanCopyright © 2006 Karen Kingsbury
All right reserved.
Chapter OneSeptember 2, 2001
There were too many funerals.
Jamie Bryan locked eyes on the casket anchored atop a specially fitted slow-moving New York City fire truck, and that was her only thought. Too many funerals. So many that this one-like those before it-was steeped in tradition: the haunting refrains from fifty bagpipes, the white-gloved salute, the lone bugler sounding taps, the helicopter passing overhead. Jamie knew the routine well. Hundreds of dignitaries and several thousand uniformed firefighters lined Fifth Avenue outside St. Patrick's Cathedral, the same way they'd done five times already that year.
A sad melody lifted from the bagpipes and mingled with the early September wind.
"I hate this," she whispered without moving.
Her husband stood a few inches away, tall and proud, his blue uniform pressed crisp, right hand sharply at attention near his brow. He squeezed her hand. No words came, no response to her statement. What could he say? Funerals were part of the job. Sometimes ten a year, sometimes twenty. This year was the lightest yet. Only six so far-six men like Jake who went to work for the FDNY one morning and never came home.
The funeral music swelled, and Jamie Bryan could feel the walls, feel them growing and buildingwithin her. The first bricks had been with her since the beginning, back when she first considered marrying a New York City firefighter.
Back when she and Jake Bryan were just twelve years old.
"I'm never leaving New York City." They'd been playing tag with neighbor kids outside his house one day that summer. Everyone else had gone in for dinner. "I'll be FDNY like my daddy." Certainty shone from his eyes as they made their way onto his front lawn. "Puttin' out fires and savin' people."
"That's fine for you." She'd dropped to the ground and leaned back on her elbows. "When I grow up I'm gonna live in France." She stared at the hazy humid New York sky. "Artists live there."
"Oh yeah?" Jake flopped down beside her. "Before or after you marry me?"
She lowered her chin to her chest and raised her eyebrows at him. "What makes you think I'd marry you, Jake Bryan?"
"Because ..." He twisted his baseball cap and shot her a grin. "You love me. And you always will."
That had been it, really. They didn't date until high school, but after that summer Jake Bryan had been the only boy for her.
"What do you see in him?" Her father peered at her over the top of his newspaper the day after her eighteenth birthday. "He'll never be rich."
Jamie had rolled her eyes. "Money isn't everything, Daddy."
"But security is." Her father let the newspaper fall to the table. "You'll get neither from Jake."
Anger had flashed like lightning across Jamie's heart. "How can you say that?"
"Because." Her father had rested his forearms on the table, his expression softer. "It's a tough job, fighting fires in New York City. The danger's always there, Jamie, as close as the next call." He gestured in the direction of Jake's house. "Look at his mother. She lives with the danger every day. It's in her eyes, part of who she is. That'll be you one day if you marry Jake Bryan."
Her father and Jake's were both Staten Island men, hardworking New Yorkers who made the commute to Manhattan every day. But the similarities stopped there. Jake's father, Jim, was a fireman, a chaplain who always had something to say about God or the importance of faith.
"What good thing has the Lord done for you today, Jamie?" he'd ask, grinning at her with piercing blue eyes that would light up the room.
Jamie was never sure how to answer the man. She had no practice at giving God credit for the good things in life. Small wonder, really. Her father, Henry Steele, was an investment banker who had built a small financial empire with nothing more than brains, determination, and self-reliance. At least that was his explanation.
Their family had lived in the same house where Jake and Jamie and their daughter, Sierra, lived today. In an elite section of Westerleigh, not far from the Staten Island Expressway and the ferry ramps. The sprawling two-story colonial had a finished basement and a built-in pool in the backyard. Back then Jamie and her sister had been friends, just two years apart and living the charmed life of summer beach parties and winter vacations in the Florida Keys.
Beyond Tuesday Morning (A song) By Karen Kingsbury
Let's not move too far beyond Tuesday morning Let's not forget all the lives that were lost Let's not move too far beyond Tuesday morning Remember the heroes remember the cost.
Time has moved on as time always will do Healing has come both to me and to you. The towers that stood now stand only at times A memory that's fading from all of our minds.
The flag on your bumper is yellowed and frayed It's only on Sundays we take time to pray For families of folks who did nothing but go To work Tuesday morning and never came home.
Still they are crying and still they are trying To understand all that America lost Take time to remember, there is no denying That one Tuesday morning and all that it cost.
Smile at a stranger or do a good deed Help out a neighbor, love someone in need Do it to honor the women and men Who died Tuesday morning and ever since then.
Let's not move too far beyond Tuesday morning Let's not forget all the lives that were lost Let's not move too far beyond Tuesday morning Remember the heroes, remember the cost.
Chapter TwoShe was surviving; the commute proved that much.
Jamie Bryan took her position at the far end of the Staten Island Ferry, pressed her body against the railing, eyes on the place where the Twin Towers once stood. She could face it now, every day if she had to. The terrorist attacks had happened, the World Trade Center had collapsed, and the only man she'd ever loved had gone down with them.
Late fall was warmer than usual, and the breeze across the water washed over Jamie's face. If she could do this-if she could make this journey three times a week while seven-year-old Sierra was at school-then she could get through another long, dark night. She could face the empty place in the bed beside her, face the longing for the man who had been her best friend, the one she'd fallen for when she was only a girl.
If she could do this, she could do anything.
Jamie looked at her watch. Nine-fifteen, right on schedule.
Three times a week the routine was the same. From Staten Island across the harbor on the ferry, up through the park, past the brick walls that after September 11 were plastered with pictures of missing people, into the heart of lower Manhattan's financial district, past the cavernous crater where the Twin Towers had stood, to St. Paul's. The little church was a strangely out-of-place stone chapel with a century-old cemetery just thirty yards from the pit. A chapel that, for months after the attacks, had been a cafe, a hospital, a meeting place, a counseling office, a refuge, a haven to firefighters and police officers and rescue workers and volunteers, a place to pray and be prayed for. A place that pointed people to God.
All the things a church should be.
Never mind the plans for a new World Trade Center, or the city's designs for an official memorial. Never mind the tourists gathered at the ten-foot chain-link fence around the pit or the throngs gawking at the pictorial timeline pinned along the top of the fence-photos of the Twin Towers' inception and creation and place in history. Souvenir picture books might be sold around the perimeter of the pit, but only one place gave people a true taste of what had happened that awful day.
The ferry docked, and Jamie was one of the first off. When it was raining or snowing she took a cab, but today she walked. Streets in lower Manhattan teemed as they always had, but there was something different about the people. It didn't matter how many years passed, how many anniversaries of the attacks came and went.
The people of New York City would never be the same.
Yes, they were busy, still driven to climb the ladders or make a name for themselves in New York City. But for the most part they were more likely to make eye contact, and when they did, they were more likely to smile or nod or give some sort of sign that the bond was still there, that a city couldn't go through something like New Yorkers went through September 11 and not be changed forever.
Jamie breathed in hard through her nose and savored the sweet mix of seawater and city air. Jake would've liked this, the way she was facing the situation, allowing her pain to work for good in the lives of others. She had lived in paralyzing fear for so long, but now-now that she'd lost Jake-she could face anything. Not in her own strength, but because Jake's faith lived deep within her.
Funny how she'd come to be a volunteer at St. Paul's.
It was Captain Hisel's idea. He'd been Jake's boss, his mentor. He'd found Jake-or the man he thought was Jake-in the aftermath of the collapse of the towers. Of course the man hadn't been Jake at all but Eric Michaels, a Los Angeles businessman who came into Jamie's life by mistake. A man she believed was her husband for three agonizing months.
A man who'd gone home to his family three years ago without looking back. And rightfully so. Jamie had told only a few people the details of that tender, tragic time. Captain Hisel was one of them.
Excerpted from One Tuesday Morning/Beyond Tuesday Morning by Karen Kingsbury Copyright © 2006 by Karen Kingsbury . Excerpted by permission.
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