Sunday, September 12, 2010

that moment

I remember where I was nine years ago when it happened. I was in bed asleep with David when we were awakened by a woman on her mobile phone screaming, “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god!” The building we lived in at the time had a very small internal courtyard and our bed was against the window that looked down upon it. The woman who was screaming was in that space, her voice echoing up and up and up. David and I had the same reaction, we yelled, “Shut the hell up!” A few moments later the phone rang, and I thought to myself who the fuck is calling at 6:30 AM in the morning? We let it ring and ring and ring and then let it go into voicemail. I leaned over and picked up the phone, dialed and listened to the message. The voice on the other end was a friend of mine from grad school. She said, “You people on the west coast need to wake up. The World Trade Center has been bombed; the Pentagon has been bombed. You need to get up now, we are under attack!” I could hear the fear in her voice and I understood now what the woman on her mobile was screaming about earlier. I lifted up and shouted, “Oh my god!” David’s eyes opened wide and I could tell he was annoyed at me for adding to the morning’s disruptions.

In the months following, I remember watching images of the two aircrafts hitting the buildings over and over and over. I remember those images of people leaping from the towers. I remember having to evacuate work twice because of bomb threats. I remember being too afraid to get on city buses. I remember hearing this woman being interviewed on TV, she was from the south. She made some statement to the effect, “I never knew New Yorkers had it in ‘em. I’m surprised they even knew what to do.” I thought to myself, fucking idiot. I also remember wanting revenge. Of all my immediate friends and acquaintances, I was the only person I knew who supported the war when it first began. I’m ashamed of myself for letting the reptilian part of my brain take over.

A couple of days ago, I got news from a very dear friend that his sister died in her sleep. She was 27 years old. I don’t know the cause, but I do know that she had not been ill. It was completely unexpected. People her age don’t normally die that way. I wish I could be there for my friend. It’s hard being so far away from the people you love. I can only imagine what he is going through. I lost a brother, but one I never knew. He was 16 years old and died in a car crash two years before I was born. I know what death of this variety does to families—our lives before and our lives after.