"Pop!" She shouts from the living room. "It was a bomb!"
We are in the kitchen. I do not even look.
"It's just fireworks." I call to E, chopping some garlic.
There are always fireworks here, a series of holidays I will never grasp or remember. Fireworks for every day, just like Disney World.
An hour later, N calls me to the kitchen and points out the window. In the distance, a building is on fire. Federation Tower, the half-built jewel of modern Russia.
Old men say it looks offensive, this cluster of steel and glass next to the river.
Like any New Yorker who lived downtown that September morning, seeing a building on fire like this strikes a certain chord. It all tumbles back. Night becomes day. A time capsule opens and we look inside for a while, from a safe distance. Where we were, what we were doing, the drone of tv sets left on all night, the black cloud that drifted towards Brooklyn, the smell.
I have been standing looking at the flames for some time. N says nothing, but knows everything. She makes us two cups of black tea. I get E to brush her teeth. I put pyjamas on her bed to change into. We sit at the round edge of the kitchen table in the near-darkness.
Monday night, and no one is sleepy.
A helicopter thrashes the air outside the balcony windows. Dogs in the sky, patrolling the territory.
The next morning, all is quiet.
It is over, again.