1 a : something apparent to sense but with no substantial existence : APPARITION
b : something elusive or visionary
c : an object of continual dread or abhorrence <the phantom of disease and want>
2 : something existing in appearance only
3 : a representation of something abstract, ideal, or incorporeal <she was a phantom of delight — William Wordsworth>
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I was four on 9/11/2001, that day has forever changed my life. My parents both worked there the day the planes hit. I can’t even remember what they looked like; they're images are just phantoms that have gradually faded away like an old cash register receipt.
Aunt Eva got me; she’s nice and does her best, but she never had kids so we just kind of wing it. In the beginning I’d ask for mommy and daddy. I’ve been seeing a shrink ever since I can remember. They put me on some anti-depression meds when I was thirteen. I no longer felt depressed; in fact I didn’t really feel anything. I went through life on autopilot not caring about anything, just doing what was expected of me.
At sixteen I skipped school heading for the 9/11 memorial. Standing among the long sheets of bronze, waterfalls and the setting sun, I still feel nothing. I’m off my meds; it’s nearly a month now; nobody notices but there’s clarity about things. My parent’s names are engraved here. I lay a hand on the cold bronze, gripping the box cutter with the other.
Such a small thing to cause so much destruction. The razor’s edge turns blood red from the setting sun. The names will be lit up soon. I’d like to see that, if I’m still here. I flip my left hand over; my pulse throbs. My ears are filled with the sounds of the waterfalls, and the pounding of my heart. People walk by; a whiff of perfume and I think of my mom. The cutter’s poised above my wrist. One fast, deep stroke. That’s all; that’s why I’m here. Still I feel nothing; I should feel something, maybe once it’s done.
An old man is, staring at me.
“Do it and you let those bastards win.” he says
I stare back for one long moment, dropping the cutter with a clatter, sinking to my knees and begin to bawl.