154. Now new worlds with new languages let Amy in


Now new worlds with new languages let Amy in. She skims or delves, depending. One of her friends has arranged for her to work as a photographer and translator for a publisher of travel guides headquartered in Paris. Her first assignment is Croatia.

Amy has never seen the sea before. The Adriatic overjoys her. She photographs the sand and shells and pebbles as the water washes over them, bursts of brilliance and their afterglows, their steady tempo. She combs the sand for shells she keeps in an old blank CD case to give to her grandma when she has enough.

At first she’s scared to drown or accidentally infiltrate a school of ocean fish, brushing up against their fins, in the same way she is scared of getting lost and getting hit by buses and of completely cloudless skies. But then after a while Amy starts swimming.

Contained within the world of water she finds islands: Mljet and Korčula and Hvar. On September 11, 2001, Amy sits in a hot, cramped bar on the Croatian island of Brač watching a plane fly directly into the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 am, local time, followed by a second plane that hits the South Tower at 9:03.

8:46 and 9:03 repeat and repeat, and the planes strike the Towers again and again, although each time Amy expects them to change course at the last minute, never quite believes it when they don’t. Surrounded by a dozen dazed Croatian men whose debates she doesn’t understand, Amy has never felt as far away from anything before as she does now from her family.