Saturday, September 11, 2010

9 years ago I went to Walmart

9 years ago, I had a 10 month old.
9 years ago, he was taking his morning nap, and I was booking a hotel room in Times Square for a road trip we were taking to North Carolina.
9 years ago, I closed the window of the travel website, and came back into view.
9 years ago, I saw something that stopped me in my tracks and made my blood run cold.
9 years ago, I started paging my husband.
9 years ago, I walked over to the TV with the phone clamped under one ear, and slowly reached out - as if it would bite me - and turned up the sound.
9 years ago, I watched the second plane hit the second tower, and I heard the fear in the voice of the news anchor.
9 years ago, I started dialing every 212- and 917- phone number in my address book.
9 years ago, I picked up my sleeping baby and held him close, and waited for someone to call me back.
one mississippi. two mississippi. three mississippi.
9 years ago, people started jumping.
9 years ago, a skyscraper - one I had been to the top of, one that relatives had worked in, one that I had shopped in and eaten in and laughed in and applied for jobs in and been alive in, one that a major retail chain had wanted to transfer me to for work.........that skyscraper just........fell..............down.
9 years ago, tears rolled silently down my cheeks and fell on my baby's head and then rolled down his sleeping cheeks and then he was awake and we were both crying.
9 years ago, my husband called me back. And my cousin. And another cousin. And a friend. And an uncle. And soon I was just going from one call waiting to another, never putting the phone down, still holding my baby, every conversation was brief.
"I'm okay. I'll call you later."
"I'm on my way home."
"I talked to her. She's safe."
"I talked to him. He's fine."
9 years ago, I felt relief in the midst of terrible fear.
9 years ago, I ran out of diapers.
9 years ago, I went to Walmart. And I hugged the greeter at the front door.
I had never done that before.
9/11 changed me. It changed how I look at life. It changed how I regard personal safety and fate and tragedy and loss and life and death and my friends and my family.
There are bad people.
There are heros.
Buildings fall down.
Life must go on.

And so........we moved to paradise. Just about 9 years ago.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wish I could hug *you* right now...*all the way around the other side of the world lady I don't know* Thanks for the reminder. me and my roommate hosted an acquaintance here in Toronto when the planes stopped flying. 9 years ago I was cleaning my room.